04 May 2014


I was glad to see my son come home with an assignment to study the symbolism of one of our national emblems. It has made me think about the power of symbols, and about our appetite, or lack of appetite for them.

We seem impatient these days. We are busy, often over-scheduled, and so we want our entertainment, our politics, and even our religion to get right to the point. I think this avoidance of symbolism and nuance is a missed opportunity.

Today I attended the dedication service for the Ft. Lauderdale, FL temple. It was broadcast across the state, allowing many members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to participate. One of the customs during a temple ceremony is the "Hosanna Shout." This is a symbolic thing, and finds its origins in the customs of the children of Israel during important events, like the Feast of the Tabernacles. When Christ entered Jerusalem preceding the crucifiction, he was met with shouts of "Hosanna!"

The Encyclopedia of Mormonism gives some explantation:

The Hosanna Shout is whole-souled, given to the full limit of one's strength. The congregation stands and in unison shouts the words "Hosanna, Hosanna, Hosanna to God and the Lamb. Amen, Amen, and Amen," repeating them three times. This is usually accompanied by the rhythmic waving of white handkerchiefs with uplifted hands. The epithet "Lamb" relates to the condescension and Atonement of Jesus Christ.

It wouldn't seem like this kind of exercise has much place in our modern lives, but as we participated in this today, I felt the power in this symbol of faith and devotion. Symbols, rites, and practices like this take us from our normal frame of reference. They force us to consider our relationship to God. They promote humility. These overt acts demonstrate our willingness to obey the will of God.

I'm grateful for these links to ancient tradition. Our modern life benefits from the connection. I know that I do.

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