|Cleveland Prayer Group Website|
The word Hosanna means praise. The most important service on the Hosanna day is the procession with fresh Palm leaves and the blessings of those leaves. The procession is a recollection or remembrance of the singing of Hosanna by his disciples and believers during the great entrance of our Lord Jesus to Royal City of Jerusalem.
Like the Virgins who waited for the Lord the Church is also waiting with fasting and prayer for the arrival of its Lord and Savior the Kingdom of God The present fasting, prayer and everything of the Church is to welcome Jesus as the Lord and King.
Christ Our Lord and Savior
The whole of Israel was waiting for the arrival of their redeemer, the king from the tribe of David. For centuries the Jews were waiting for their redemption from the political bondage of foreign powers, like the Greeks and Romans who were ruling them for long years. They expected their redemption through the Anointed one (Messiah) of Yahweh. Many Jews have seen that how Jesus went around and performed so many miracles. As the climax of all these wonders He raised Lazarus from the dead. Seeing all these and recognizing him as the Messiah His disciples and the believers greeted Him with Hosanna while he was coming to Jerusalem. Crowds of people carpeted the roads with their cloaks, and some cut branches from the trees to spread in his path. Then the crowd that went ahead and the others that came behind raised the shout: " Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessings on him who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the Heavens." (Mathew 21.9)
Seeing him coming on the donkey they might have remembered "the prophesy which says, Tell the daughter of Zion, " Here is your king, who comes to you in gentleness, riding on an ass, riding on the foal of a beast of burden." (Mathew 21.4) By singing Hosanna to Him they all accepted him as their king. While celebrating the festival of Hosanna we are recollecting and again celebrating what happened in Jerusalem in those days. We are also accepting Him as our Lord and Savior.
The Glorious Second Coming of Christ
The celebration of Hosanna is not simply remembrance of the past events. It is an active recollection and lively participation also. Recalling the past events the Church which sojourns in this world is looking forward for the glorious Second Coming of the Lord. While singing Hosanna using fresh palm leaves they are joining the crowd who were robed in whites and had palms in their hands.
St. John having the Vision writes in the Revelation, "After this I looked and saw a vast throng, which no one could count, from every nation, of all tribes, peoples and languages standing in front of the throne and before the Lamb. They were robed in white and had palms in their hands, and they shouted together: Victory to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb. And all the Angels stood round the throne and the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, crying: Amen Praise and glory and wisdom, thanksgiving and honor, power and might, be to our God forever and ever! Amen. These are the men who passed through great ordeal; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb"( Cf.Rev.7.9-17)
Blessings of the Palm Leaves
During the Hosanna service in our church we bless or consecrate the Palm leaves or Hosanna leaves. The Palm leaves or the branches used for the procession were cut from different trees. After the procession we collect those leaves, put them before the Lord and pray to him to bless it. We are praying the Lord to bless not only those leaves but also all the trees, branches, leaves and the whole vegetation in the whole World. In a way this ceremony is a blessing or consecration of the whole nature. Lifting up his hands before the Hosanna leaves the Priest prays: " Now God our Lord because of your abundant mercy, bless these branches and the trees from where these were cut and all the trees that your Lordship have created and brought into being………. "
The whole congregation says "Amen"
Again, lifting up his hands the priest prays, "Lord by the indwelling of your mercy, bless us, fields (agriculture), trees and Vegetation, and these branches………"
The priest put the sign of the cross in the name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit upon the branches and blesses it and the people says Amen.
By the Hosanna celebration and through the blessing of the branches we are blessing and dedicating the entire nature and the whole world. It reminds us of our responsibility towards the nature too.
During this Hosanna celebration let us accept Christ as our Lord, Savior and King. He is humble and meek and coming towards the New Jerusalem or the dwelling place of the glorious King which is our heart itself (1Cor.3.16). Let us wide open its gates and carpet its roads with the cloaks of our good deeds for His Great Entrance. Let us remember His Glorious Second Coming and prepare us with white robes and simple Hosanna leaves. Let us remember our responsibility towards the whole world and the entire nature and bring it before God as good, acceptable and perfect offering to the Lord our God.
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