"HOSANNA, LOUD HOSANNA"
"Hosanna; Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord" (Mk. 11.9)
INTRO.: A hymn which praises Christ as the blessed one who came in the name of the Lord is "Hosanna, Loud Hosanna." The text was written by Jeannette Threlfall, who was born on Mar 24, 1821, at Blackburn in Lancashire, England, the daughter of a wine merchant, Henry Threlfall, and his wife Catherine Eccles Threlfall who was a member of a prominent family of the region and whose family opposed the marriage because of their son-in-law’s occupation. Orphaned while quite young, Jeanette was became the "beloved inmate" at the homes of her uncle and aunt Bannister and Mary Jane Eccles at Park Place in Blackburn and Golden Hill in Leyland. Later she lived with a cousin, the Eccles’ daughter Sarah Alice Aston and her husband, at Dean’s Yard in Westminster, Middlesex.
A couple of accidents left Jeanette lame, mutilated, and disabled so that she eventually became a lifelong invalid, but it also gave her much time to read and to write poetry, which, according to her own testimony, was "thrown off" in "idle moments," published various periodicals, and later collected in Woodsorrel: or, Leaves from a Retired Home in 1856, and Sunshine and Shadow in 1873, which contained "Hosanna, Loud Hosanna" (one source says it was first in Woodsorrel and then reprinted in Sunshine and Shadow). John Julian wrote, "She bore her long, slow sufferings brightly, and to the end retained a gentle, loving sympathetic heart, and always a pleasant word and smile, forgetful of herself." She died on Nov. 30, 1880, at St. George’s Hospital in Hyde Park, London, England. Most books use a traditional tune (Ellecombe) arranged by William Henry Monk which is most often associated with Isaac Watts’s hymn "I Sing The Might Power Of God."
However, I prefer a tune (Far Off Lands) which is a traditional melody of the Bohemian Brethren. It was found set to "Hur Ljuvt det ar att komma" in the Swedish Hemmets Koralbok of 1921. The usual arrangement was evidently made by Percy Dearmer (1867-1936). It was done in 1929 to fit his hymn "Remember All the People" and first published in the Anglican Church Missionary Society’s magazine The Round World. Its first hymnbook publication was in the 1930 Songs of Praise for Boys and Girls. Among hymnbooks published by members of the Lord’s church during the twentieth century for use in churches of Christ, the final stanza of Threlfall’s text with two stanzas of "All Glory, Laud, and Honor" by Theodolphus of Orleans and the Bohemian Brethren tune appeared in the 1963 Christian Hymnal edited by J. Nelson Slater. Three stanzas of Threlfall’s text (with stanza 2 being a composite of her original 2 and 3) with the Ellacombe tune are found in the 1986 Great Songs Revised edited by Forrest M. McCann.
The song is a straightforward account of the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem.
I. Stanza 1 talks about the song of the children
"Hosanna! loud hosanna! The little children sang;
Through pillared court and temple The glorious anthem rang.
To Jesus who had blessed them, Close folded to His breast,
The children sang their praises, The simple and the best."
A. The Biblical text definitely says that following Christ’s triumphal entry, even the children joined in saying Hosanna to Jesus: Matt. 21.15-17 (most books, for reasons unknown, change the word "glorious" to "lovely" or "joyful")
B. While we do not know for sure, some of these may have even been among the children whom Jesus had previously blessed: Matt. 19.13-14
C. The simple praise of children can be thought of as illustrating the childlike faith that Jesus demands of those who would be converted: Matt. 18.1-4
II. Stanza 2 talks about the actions of the children
"From Olivet they followed, ‘Midst an exultant crowd,
Waving the victor palm branch, And shoutling clear and loud;
Bright angels joined the chorus Beyond the cloudless sky–
‘Hosanna in the highest: Glory to God on high!’"
A. It certainly was an exultant crowd that followed Jesus from the Mount of Olives into Jerusalem: Matt. 21.1, 9-11
B. Only one account says that people took branches of palm trees and went out to meet Him: Jn. 12.12-13
C. The Bible says nothing about angels joining in the chorus, but it does teach that all the angels of God worship the Son: Heb. 1.6
III. Stanza 3 talks about Jesus’s attitude toward the children
"Fair leaves of silvery olive They strewed upon the ground,
Whilst Salem’s circling mountains Echoed the joyous sound;
The Lord of men and angels Rode on in lowly state,
Nor scorned that little children Should on His bidding wait."
A. We do not know if it was from olive trees or not, although it may well have been since they are very common around Jerusalem, but the people did strew branches on the ground while Jesus rode into the city: Matt. 21.8 (Armin Haeussler in The Story of Our Hymns to accompany The Hymnal of the Evangelical and Reformed Church in 1941 wrote, "The only alteration ever made in the text was the changing of ‘whilst’ to ‘while’ in the third line of the third verse.")
B. Surely all would agree that the Lord of men and angels rode on in lowly state as he sat on the donkey: Matt. 21.2-7 (The United Methodist Hymnal of 1989 changed "The Lord of men and angels" to "The Lord of earth and heaven," apparently in an attempt to remove all of what the compilers saw as "sexist language" from hymns)
C. As the meek and lowly, He did not scorn that little children should wait on Him but even quoted from the Psalms which said that out of the mouths of babes God had ordained praise: Ps. 8.1-2
IV. Stanza 4 makes application of the children to us
"’Hosanna in the highest!’ That ancient song we sing;
For Christ is our Redeemer, The Lord of heaven, our King.
O may we ever praise Him With heart, and life, and voice,
And in His blissful presence Eternally rejoice."
A. Like the little children, we should praise Christ because He is our Redeemer: Eph. 1.7
B. We should praise Him with heart, and life, and voice: Heb. 13.15
C. Because of Him we can have the hope of eternally rejoicing in His blissful presence: 1 Pet. 1.3-5
CONCL.: This hymn is undoubtedly not well known among us because it has been in almost none of our hymnbooks. It was apparently written to appeal to children. Some have objected to using "children’s songs" in a worship service, but given the fact that we are to become as little children to enter the kingdom of heaven, there can be nothing wrong with singing praises to God in a form that is simple enough for a child to understand. Just as the little children did following Jesus’s triumphal entry, we should want to praise our Lord with a "Hosanna, Loud Hosanna."