Sometimes they strew His way,
And His sweet praises sing;
Resounding all the day
Hosannas to their King:
is all their breath,
And for His death
they thirst and cry.
These words, referring to Palm Sunday and Good Friday, come from Samuel Crossman’s hymn, My Song is love Unknown, written in 1664. The melody to which it is sung in the UK now (I do not know if our American cousins use the same melody) was composed by John Ireland a few centuries later. It is a powerful hymn that draws us to meditate on Christ’s goodness and love. It is meant to solicit wonder and awe, gratitude and love.
I am reminded of the fable, I assume by Aesop, wherein the Sun and the Cold Wind have a competition to see who can force a man to take off his cloak. The Cold Wind blows hard upon him, but that causes him to draw his cloak more tightly around his body. The Sun shines with benevolence upon him, and immediately he casts his cloak off. The same principle, I imagine, is at work in the old proverb, “You catch more flies with honey than vinegar.”
The Bible also illustrates this principle. When God sends His only Son, the Messiah draws followers to Himself by showing them forgiveness and love. Consider the woman at the well in John 4. But when God pours out his wrath, see what happens:
The fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and the sun was allowed to scorch people with fire. They were seared by the intense heat and they cursed the name of God, who had control over these plagues, but they refused to repent and glorify him.
-Revelation 16:8-9 (NIV)
God can draw people to Himself in a number of ways, but He prefers to do it through love. As He says through His prophet Ezekiel, “I delight not in the death of a sinner.” So as we attend Palm Sunday services and we think about how He rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, His will set to do the work of the Cross, we remember that He it for love of us.
Jesus is patient, Jesus is kind. Jesus does not envy, Jesus does not boast, Jesus is not proud. Jesus does not dishonour others, Jesus is not self-seeking, Jesus is not easily angered, Jesus keeps no record of wrongs. Jesus does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. Jesus always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Jesus never fails.
-1 Corinthians 13, restyled (NIV)