What a charmer, the smiling little boy in his Coptic server's robe, wearing a crown of woven palm and holding a cross of woven palm fronds. Palms, the ancient symbol of victory—and of martyrdom. Initial reports out of Egypt indicated that the child was among the worshipers martyred in yesterday's terrorist attacks against Coptic Christian churches; now there are some reports that he may be alive. So we don't know which side of eternity he is on today, but yesterday he was one of many who processed with us shouting “Hosanna!” to the Christ who is coming.
You know how you can hear a familiar text and then suddenly something new pops out? That's what it was like for me hearing Matthew's account of the entry into Jerusalem. “The crowds that went before him and that followed him shouted, 'Hosanna!'”
|Fresco above the entrance of the Cathedral of Susa, Italy. Click to see in detail!|
Was that always there?
Crowds before him, and then crowds following behind, like the whole procession of salvation history. There were the generations that came “before him,” preparing the way for the Lord, and then, for two thousand years now, crowds following after him, that smiling child among them like us. All acclaiming him in words we still use to give him thanks and praise, and that will be on our lips when he returns—Blessed is he who comes!
And Jesus is the center of it all.
May Jesus be the center of your every day this Holy Week.