faith · pop culture

the problem with Hosanna (save us)

Can you admit it? It took me a long time. What we really want is God to be a genie in a lamp. We don’t want life to be hard. We just want to be happy and be filled up with good times, fun, sun, and love. So when we say “save us,” we barely even know what we’re really asking. We say it when something terrible has happened. We say it when things aren’t going the way we think it should. We say it when there’s a diagnosis, a prognosis that we are afraid of. We say it when our kids are walking away. We say it when we can’t seem to get a grip on anything. We say it when we realize we cannot handle our lives.

I had a real idea of what life should look like, and according to me it wasn’t happening. Being a Christian felt stupid. It felt like I had to be and stay ignorant, thinking things will get better eventually. I felt like Christians around me were less than real and genuine and that most of them were either clueless or trying to be.

The problem with wanting God to “save us” is we haven’t figured out what we need saving from. We haven’t been willing, and arguably able, to see the real “enemy.” My biggest enemy? ME. Everything else is just thinly veiled excuses.

It was true for the Jews on Palm Sunday. They cried to Jesus, Save us! Blessed are you who comes in the name of the LORD! They cried out because they knew he was something… something different, new, alarming, revolutionary. They said they wanted a revolution. Well, you know. We all want to change the world. At the time, they thought this radical Jesus will come in and take over, by force, if necessary, and then we’ll really get to live free and happy.

We know how the story goes. Not even a full week later, those same people are watching him beaten and tortured to death. Maybe, and I’m not saying this is true because I personally think it would be anachronistic, they thought, ok, his death is a battle cry. His martyrdom is going to inspire the world and we will see an uprising.

Well, we did see an up rising… not what they expected. Not what anyone expected. It was like the opposite of Spanish Inquisition, it was the Answer. It was the true freedom. It was the announcement of the victory over our greatest enemies… sin and death. The enemy that was growing in our hearts. The enemy that always thinks we know better. It’s the arrogance, the bitterness, the self-righteousness, the self-centeredness. The enemy is our ability to rationalize ANYthing and do whatever we damn well pleased in the first place. It’s our minds and hearts – God given gifts, by the way – that are so completely complex and beautiful that lead us into a thousand directions, all of them leading to foolishness and sin and death.

Except that one. um, that one direction. The one way. The one that rules them all. the Neo, if you will… the Savior. He is coming for you. I believe that. I have never believed anything so wholeheartedly than that. He is coming on a cloud of fire and judgment. He will destroy all your excuses. He will light them on fire and all that will remain is YOU. What you’ve done with the problem of “save us” is all that will matter. He’ll ask, save you from what? And then, depending on your answer, he’ll say, It is finished.

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