Pave the Way with Branches

Pave the Way With Branches

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.

Words and music by Bret Hesla. Spanish lyrics Jose Antonio Machado
© 1999 Bret Hesla. Admin Augsburg Fortress Publishers.
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Origin: I wrote this song on an April morning in 1999. I was walking down a gravel road near my home 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. When I got home I wrote it down.

About: 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 realm of God to be how Jesus described: pervasive but a bit unnoticed, small, ordinary, like a mustard seed.

How to: It’s perfect for a paperless traveling procession by the whole congregation. Leader sings once, all repeat. Then have a supportive choir, pre-primed to jump in on SATB; pass out simple percussion (hand drum, shakers) and find a good song leader who can call out the verses. Wind your way through the church, or the neighborhood. Imagine the transformation.

Adapt as needed: 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, and focus on Jesus life and the threat he posed to the powers of the day—-

Here’s how Edina Community Lutheran Church used the song during the time of social distancing

And here’s a children’s choir from Tacoma WA singing Pave the Way with Branches recorded remotely during the pandemic. From St. Mark’s Lutheran, by director Cooper Sherry.

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