by Matt Conner
Greg LaFollette doesn’t think of Songs of Common Prayer as an album. Instead it’s a gift, a resource, a companion for the church—a set of songs inspired by the Book of Common Prayer intended to aid and inspire congregations as they worship together.
LaFollette is a Nashville-based musician and producer who has worked with Andrew Peterson, Audrey Assad and numerous others over the years. For this project, he enlisted the help of friends like Sara Groves and Sarah Masen to bring Songs of Common Prayer to life.
Today we’re delighted that LaFollette was willing to share the inspiration behind his latest single from the forthcoming album, “Hosanna In The Highest.” Songs of Common Prayer will be released on October 26.
Last year on Palm Sunday at our church, we sang this song as we processed into the sanctuary waving our branches. We leapt into the celebration of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, singing with the crowds at Jesus’ parade, “Hosanna in the highest. Hosanna in the highest. Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.”
As we found our seats, the scene shifted to Gethsemane, and we were thrust into Judas’ shoes, kissing Jesus’ face to tip off the mob; then we were all Peter, denying that we knew Jesus; and soon after we answered Pilate’s questions with a regretful and sobering chant…
Pilate asked again, “Why? What evil has he done?” And together we shouted again,
This is the narrative of “Hosanna In The Highest.” The verses are the words of the angels continually singing of God’s supremacy, “Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might. Heaven and earth are full of your glory.” They are juxtaposed with a refrain that reminds us of the part we play in the Paschal Mystery that we rehearse every Easter season.
The song admonishes us to remember that it was not they who crucified our Lord, but we. Were the crowds more myopic, more easily swayed than we are? Were they angrier, more fearful? How often do we choose “Barabbas” in our lives?
In the words of St. Peter, “Let us consider our Lord who endured such opposition from sinners, so that we will not grow weary and lose heart.” May we remember that God’s story does not end with our sin and death, but continues on through his righteousness and resurrection.