All Glory, Laud and Honor
On Palm Sunday, this popular song has been sung for hundreds of years by people celebrating Jesus and Passion Week. It was written by an ancient Bishop by the name of Theodulf of Orleans, who was born in Spain circa 750 and died in 821 imprisoned in a monastery at Angers France. He was known for his reforming of clergy, churches and establishing free schools for the poor. He was also Charlemagne’s theological advisor and established Hospice (forerunner of modern hospitals) for the ill.
This hymn has been used in its original Latin form, but more lately in its modern form, being translated by Anglican Hymn writer, John Mason Neale in 1854. He was unsurpassed in his translation of ancient texts to modern use for the church, 10 from Greek and 31 from Latin. He valued the truth of God’s word and worship from earlier generations and he is known for his many translations of ancient text, such as two well known Christmas hymns; “Of the Father’s Love Begotten” and “ O Come , O Come, Emanuel.”
The Text for this Hymn is found in Matthew 21:1-11, and it is quickly noted in this passage that the people knew this person of Jesus to be a great prophet, but treated him as even more; he was given a King’s welcome. In that culture, a donkey was the fit animal for a king, and it was even prophesied to be so in Zechariah 9:9. The people were jubilant in their welcoming Jesus, throwing down palm branches for him to ride over and waving them in the air, even to spreading their cloaks on the road for him to ride over.
The animal was a colt, a foal of a donkey, not yet weaned and not yet broken in for riding. Yet this was the animal in this triumphal parade. The spreading of cloaks and palm branches, the colt and the call of Hosanna (which means, “save!” shows that he was recognized as more than just a prophet. The people believed that he was who he claimed to be, the Savior of the world.
When Jesus was getting serious with his disciples, he asked them the hard question, “Who do you say that I am?” This is always a good question to ask of ourselves and our relationship with Jesus. Our behavior dictates our true beliefs….who we say he is, and what we live in conjunction should not differ. This Passion week, let us draw near to the one we profess, and emulate Christ likeness as we meditate upon his Word. May he be our King, and we his loyal subjects…. seeking to be obedient to his commands and to live by his grace alone.
Lord forgive us when we fall short and sin. Lord renew us in your image that we might be faithful and true. Watch over us this week that we might gain new insight into our personal sin and your abundant grace. Amen