Hosannah to Hallelujah

Words by Geoff Stilwell
Music by Alison Marr

  1. Jerusalem was jubilant
    People lined the way
    As Jesus rode a donkey
    Before him palms they lay
    "Hosanna!" they all shouted
    "Please help us Lord, today
    Liberate and save us
    Oh Jesus this we pray."

  2. The twelve sat down at table
    They shared the bread and wine
    And Jesus told them what would come,
    Said this would be a sign
    "But Master!" they all shouted
    "We could not betray you
    Nor deny You, nor forsake you
    We will all stay true."

  3. Later in Gethsemane
    Jesus knelt to pray
    "This cup will not be taken
    Your will be done this day."
    But nothing did they utter
    Asleep upon the ground
    And when Jesus was taken
    No-one could be found

  4. The priests and soldiers took him
    They said the law allowed
    Blasphemers to be crucified
    Jesus stood before the crowd
    "Crucify!" they shouted
    "Crucify Him now!
    Free to us Barabbas
    This man we disavow."

  5. Jesus was nailed upon the cross
    A man so free from blame
    The son of God is dying there
    To free us all from shame
    And He cried out "Forgive them,
    They know not what they do."
    "It is finished now. My work is done.
    I can return to you."

  6. The women found an open tomb
    Jesus risen from the grave
    Our God had died in place of us
    His purpose for to save
    And we all shout “Hallelujah
    Let Hallelujahs ring
    Praise to the Lord Almighty
    Our humble saving king.”

Copyright © 2006 Geoff Stilwell & Alison Marr

Song Story

The words of this hymn were inspired by a letter our Pastor, Barry Robinson, gave us at the conclusion of a series of workshops on Evangelism. The letter was for us to give to others, friends and family, that we might want to invite to our Easter services.

In short the letter spoke of Palm Sunday when the people of Jerusalem welcomed Jesus with shouts of Hosanna. The word, of Hebrew origin, is formed from two words: “yashaw” which can mean help, liberate, preserve, save, and “naw” which may be rendered as 'I pray now'. Together these two words form a prayer, 'help or save us now, we pray'.

The letter went on to say that Jesus answered our prayer for salvation by dying on the cross and taking our sins upon Himself so that we could be reconciled with God. The resurrection is the final proof of that truth. For those who believe and accept this sacrifice another word is on their lips, also formed from two words: “Hallelu” meaning 'praise ye' and “yah” a contraction of the name for God; Jehovah. “Hallelujah” then means 'Praise ye the Lord', and what better word is there for those who have been saved from the bondage of sin and death? In the space of Holy Week Jesus Christ has turned our “Hosannahs” into “Hallelujahs”!

Just using the biblical accounts of Holy Week I focused on the things people shouted, said, and didn't say in one case. The words came very quickly, a couple of hours the next Sunday morning.

On Monday morning I gave the completed words to my friend, Alison, who is from Northern Ireland and a very talented penny whistle player. By Wednesday she had written the melody, which she said was completed in about fifteen minutes, and on Thursday we got together to rehearse it. It had the flavour of an Irish marching tune but it was very catchy.

“Hosanna to Hallelujah” had its first performance the following Sunday, 2nd April 2006, at one of our monthly Praise & Worship Services in Central London when the song was applauded by the congregation. It was played again on Maundy Thursday and triumphantly on Easter Sunday this time with Alison's whistle accompaniment.

Download Hosanna To Hallelujah

Back to top