In church recently, we’ve been walking through the life of Jesus from the start of his adult ministry to his death and resurrection. We’ve made it up to his entrance into Jerusalem on what is celebrated as Palm Sunday. The imagery of celebration and worship, of palm branches and shouts of Hosanna are hard to reconcile with the imagery we know is coming with the betrayal, trial, and death of Jesus.
The upcoming Holy Week always reminds me of the complication of Jesus as God and human. He rode the rollercoaster of human emotions, the ups and downs of fickle friendships, the celebrations of successes and the crush of defeat. So those emotions that I feel, that maybe I feel like I should hide from the world and from God – aren’t unfamiliar to Him. He lived through them, obviously on a much grander scale than I – but He knows and understands. He may not have reacted the way I would react, but he gets it.
On Palm Sunday, Jesus enters Jerusalem in triumph – crowd screaming his name, clamoring to see Him, waving palm branches in adoration, and shouting “Hosanna”. Interestingly, when the crowd cried out “Hosanna!”, this was historically a plea to be saved – think of the Egyptians calling out to God to be saved from their enslavement, and then used as a praise when celebrating the fact that they had been rescued. The crowd is calling out for Jesus to save them, to establish a kingdom that removes Roman rule and frees them once again. Save us. Save us.
How many times have I called out to God to save me, save my friends, save my family? Save us. Save us.
Save me from this illness. Save me from this pain. Save them from this heartache. Save us. Save us.
Living with mental illness can make it hard to shout praises of joy, to imagine yourself in a scene of jubilation and palm fronds. But to connect with the longing to be saved? Oh yes. THAT I can get behind.
The crowd in Jerusalem that day, had the wrong idea of HOW Jesus would save them, but the fact is, that He DID save them, in a much more beautiful way than they could have possibly imagined. And I often have my own ideas of how I would like to be saved from this illness, or on a larger scale – how I would like my whole circle of people to be saved from the heartache or pain that goes with living in this world. And yet, it rarely happens like I wish. It certainly hasn’t happened in regards to my depression or anxiety.
But it has happened. He has saved me with medication, not once – but twice. He has saved me with the peace to take that medication without shame. He has saved me with the courage to speak up and reach out to others, and He has saved me with friends to love and support me. I may not be saved from my illness, but I am saved nonetheless.
I am thankful for the way He has saved me. And yet I will continue to cry to Him, “Hosanna! Hosanna!” – in the hope that he will continue to save me. Every day.
Save us. Save us.
I will cry it for myself, and for you.