Pave the Way With Branches
Bret Hesla. © 1999. Admin Augsburg Fortress Publishers.
Spanish lyrics Jose Antonio Machado
1. Jesus is coming.
Pave the way with branches.
Jesus is coming. Hosannah.
Ch: Hosannah. Jesus is coming.
Hosannah to the Prince of Peace.
2. Hope for the downtrod …
3. Land for the landless …
4. Debts are forgiven …
5. Release for the captives …
Cristo ya viene con mantos y palmas.
Cristo ya viene hossana.
Ref: Hossana cristo ya viene.
Hossana yo lo quiero ver.
I wrote this song on an April morning in 1999. I was walking down a gravel road in southern Minnesota, trying to come up with a song for Palm Sunday. I didn’t have a pencil or paper to keep track of my ideas. So I just kept walking till a song came out that was easy to remember.
This energetic Palm Sunday song urges us to move out into the street singing and proclaiming the transformation that Jesus spoke of and lived out in his life. Challenging powers to release to the incarcerated. Bringing good news to the powerless. Welcoming the immigrant. Compassion and love of enemies. Perhaps even allowing the coming kingdom to be how Jesus described: pervasive but a bit unnoticed, small, ordinary, like a mustard seed.
Perfect for a paperless traveling procession by the whole congregation. Leader sings once, all repeat. Then have a supportive choir singing in parts, simple percussion (hand drum, shakers) and a good song leader who can call out the verses. Wind your way through the church, or the neighborhood. Imagine the transformation.
Some groups have adapted this as, “Justice is coming.” Great idea. I think the rest of the adaptation would replace Pave the way with branches to “Pave the way with action.” Replace Hosannah with “Be strong now” and replace To the Prince of Peace with “In the way of peace”. Also, of course, there’s lots of other room here to make up new lyrics. In case you need a nudge, here’s your official nudge. C’mon. Sing what makes sense to you in your deepest heart. This is our one go-around on this earth.
———-Attention Good Friday: Because He Stood: a song to help remove atonement from Good Friday—-
Here’s how Edina Community Lutheran Church used the song during the time of social distancing