Faith Matters: Jesus, now

Contributing Writer Rev. Dr. Scott D. Hannon St. John Lutheran Church, Amherst, NY
Contributing Writer Rev. Dr. Scott D. Hannon St. John Lutheran Church, Amherst, NY

After weeks with multiple mass shootings, more senseless violence, and utterly unnecessary death… we pray: Jesus, now. As families, communities, our country, and the world wrestle with pain, grief, confusion, and anger… Jesus, now.

After a year of this pandemic with its worry, anxiety, stress, sickness, fear, and misunderstanding… Jesus, now. After a year of isolation, distance, separation, and stillness… Jesus, now. After a year of the elderly locked in rooms, children stuck at home, families kept apart, and frontline workers pushed to exhaustion… Jesus, now.

After years of political corruption (from both sides), decades of broken systems governed by selfish leaders… Jesus, now. After centuries of hate and war and racism and sexism and homophobia and xenophobia and just plain, run-of-the-mill ignorance… Jesus, now.

And maybe, just maybe, after a rough day or a tough morning, after an unfortunate hour or painful moment… Jesus, now.

Jesus, now.

On Palm Sunday Christians across the globe shouted, “Hosanna!” We echoed the refrain of that first century crowd who greeted Jesus when he triumphantly marched into Jerusalem: Hosanna in the highest! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest! (Matthew 21:9). Now, my guess is most of us have a general sense of what that word (hosanna) signifies. However, I wonder how many really know what it really means.
Well, in short, it means… Jesus, now.
Hosanna is a construction of two words – “yasha” and “na” (or “anna”). “Yasha” is the root for the verb to saveand it is why Jesus is named Jesus (because he saves). “Na” simply means now or please. To shout “hosanna” is to beseech God with a simple request…

Jesus, now.

When that first century crowd shouted hosanna, they meant the same thing we do today. Save us. Save us from pointless tragedy and devastation. Save us from illness and death. Save us from oppression and hate. Save us from this struggle (whatever it may be).

Unfortunately, in scripture when Jesus’ timing and means did not align with the crowd the shouts of “hosanna” turned to “crucify.” The crowd that laid down palm branches picked up torches. Jesus’ disciples and friends fled. His best friend denied knowing him. One of his twelve closest people betrayed him. A criminal was released scot-free while an innocent man was condemned. Jesus died. He was killed.

And for three days no one even dared to whisper… hosanna.

Fortunately, on the third day God said, “Jesus, now.” Then Easter happened. Jesus rose from the grave. He found those who fled. He forgave. He promised. He restored.

He saved.

And so, my friends, let us boldly say, sing, and shout hosanna, now… because we still need Jesus, now.

Hosanna. Hosanna in the highest.

Happy Easter.

In the Way,
PSDH

For more inspiration and insights from Pastor Scott and Pastor Shawn’s past columns, please visit www.jamestowngazette.com and click on the Faith Matters page. The Jamestown Gazette is proud to present our county’s most creative and original writers for your enjoyment and enlightenment.

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Pastor Scott Hannon
Pastor Scott serves the people of St. John by helping the congregation welcome everyone, care for one another, and grow in the joy of God’s love through Jesus Christ. Pastor Scott earned his bachelor’s degree at the University at Buffalo and went to seminary at Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary in Columbia, SC. He is currently pursuing his Doctor of Ministry degree with an emphasis in preaching from Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia. Pastor Scott and his wife, Kate, live in Bowmansville, NY with their children Molly, Delaney, and John Scott. Scott and Kate love Western New York for many reasons, not the least of which are the changing seasons, wonderful people, and of course the Buffalo Bills. Pastor Scott’s ministry priorities are worship, preaching and teaching. Scott’s hobbies are guitar, golf, and reading. To read some of Scott’s musings visit his blog Way-ward at www.psdh.org.