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HYMN FOR PALM SUNDAY. All Glory Laud and Honor

Text: St. Theodulf (ca. 750-821) Tune: Melchior Teschner (1584-1635)

Entry of Christ into Jerusalem. Assissi Fresco Pietro Lorenzettii

1. All glory, laud, and honour

To Thee, Redeemer, King!

To Whom the lips of children

Made sweet Hosannas ring,

Thou art the King of Israel

Thou David's Royal Son,

Who in the LORD'S name comest,

The King and Blessèd One.

R/All glory, laud and honour

To Thee, Redeemer King!

2. The company of Angels

Is praising Thee on high,

And mortal men, and all things

Created make reply.

The people of the Hebrews

With palms before Thee went

Our praise and prayers and anthems

Before Thee we present.


3. To Thee before Thy Passion

They sang their hymns of praise;

To Thee now high exalted

Our melody we raise.

Thou didst accept their praises;

Accept the praise we bring,

Who in all good delightest,

Thou good and gracious King.


Tr. John Mason Neale 1854


Louis the Pious

One doesn’t need to know the history of a hymn to enjoy it and be blessed by it. But there is an uncommon pleasure to know something about what one is singing, especially those that are as old and traditional as this. The hymn is one of the oldest in our hymnal. It is said to have been written by St. Theodolf of Orléans (ca. 750-821), a bishop in Charlemagne’s realm. The next king, Louis the Pious, viewed Theodulf as a traitor and put him in prison where he languished. Some time during his imprisonment, he wrote this hymn. One Palm Sunday as the king was processing by the prison he is said to have heard this hymn coming from the jail. He was so moved by it, he decreed it should always be sung on Palm Sunday.

During medieval times, the people reenacted Jesus' procession into Jerusalem.The clergy and city dwellers would gather outside the city and march in through the gates of the city behind an actor representing Jesus riding a donkey. As they approached the city, children would sing this hymn in Latin and the crowd responded with the refrain. The gates were opened and the crowd processed in to the cathedral.

We still follow King Louis’ decree twelve hundred years later. Whenever we sing this on Palm Sunday, and it is usually every time, I think of St. Theodulf in the prison singing a hymn—having experienced both the praise of a king and the scorn. The king riding by in the spring of the year on hearing it repents of his cruelty and is changed.

Singing this connects us to those scenes in France, but more than that, to a joyful scene in Jerusalem when the crowd about to celebrate Passover greets Jesus enthusiastically as their King, who is riding a donkey as Solomon did on his coronation day. A donkey for humility.

St. Theodulf

But the joy of the music is tinged with sadness, or maybe the great paradox of the passion. Here we are shouting Hosanna and know as we shout that a few days later we will be shouting Crucify him! How fickle. How awful! Jesus knows this as he is riding into the Holy City. What is he thinking? We have some idea from his comment to the daughters of Jerusalem weeping for him. Feeling sorry for the Savior is the last thing he needs; he wants us to feel sorry for our sins. Weep not for me, but weep for yourselves. Look into your own heart. That should make you turn to him for forgiveness and healing. You will know why he is riding in to meet his death. It is for you. He does not want our pity; he wants our hearts, so he can change them and make us new. That is why he sets his face like flint as he rides into Jerusalem. It will take courage and a great heart to die for this fickle mob. And yet he does out of love, to change and save us. Pray that you will be like King Louis the Pious and let your heart be changed by the song as you sing it on Sunday.

HYMN INFO The tune by Teschner, born in Silesia, was a cantor and composer, serving as cantor in Fraustadt and pastor in Oberpritschen until his death.. Valet vil ich dir geben, one of the great Lutheran hymn tunes, is used for several other texts, but this is the one most people sing on Palm Sunday. Enjoy these grand versions of the song being sung in cathedrals and give thanks.


King’s College

Choir and congregation

Choir and congregation with children’s choir waving palms/fun

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