Palm Sunday — the day we wave Palm fronds in church to welcome the King of Kings.
Musical Memory Lane takes me back to the early ’70s when Andrew Lloyd Weber and Tim Rice’s Jesus Christ Superstar was a smash hit.
Our church in Cooperstown put on the production. Not many tiny towns can claim this, but we had not one, but two, future opera stars in our midst. Rick Croft played Jesus in that production long ago. (I don’t think his younger brother Dwayne was in the show, but Dwayne was closer in age to me, and we sometimes sat together on band bus trips. He was a trumpet player at the time. Who knew he was future opera baritone?)
I don’t know if it was Rick’s singing, or Tim Rice’s lyrics, or Andrew Lloyd Weber’s musical genius in the song itself, but Hosanna is etched in my memory. It is a song I think of every Palm Sunday, especially when Jesus says/sings,
Why waste your breath moaning at the crowd?
Nothing can be done to stop its shouting.
If every tongue were stilled the noise would still continue;
The rocks and stones themselves would start to sing.
It fits so well with Luke’s account of the Triumphal entry (found in Luke 19) -
As he was drawing near—already on the way down the Mount of Olives—the whole multitude of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen, saying, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”
And some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.”
He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.”
All creation cries out giving glory to God. Even today.
My new favorite Palm Sunday song is Andrew Peterson’s Nothing to Say. He wrote this, I think, after seeing the Grand Canyon where the rocks and stones did cry out, and he realized he had nothing to add to that chorus of praise.