“And when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all people to myself.” John 12: 32 (AP)
This Sunday we begin worship with great joy and praise as we sing songs fit for our King and Savior, waving palms and shouting “Hosanna,” which means, “save us.” Yes, we proclaim the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem—celebrating with palm branches, a symbol of peace and victory—yet taking to heart that Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a young donkey, a symbol of humility and peace, unlike a horse of violence and war.
We begin in celebration, but then take a dramatic turn towards the suffering and death of Jesus, for apart from the cross, the story cannot be told or understood. All throughout Lent, we have a view toward the events of Holy Week, and are intentional to confess our own culpability in the sin and brokenness of this world and therefore our need of being saved by God. We give thanks that in Christ God sets things right for us and for all of creation!
Therefore, let us be drawn into the fullness of Holy Week—remembering we are baptized into all aspects of Christ’s life, death, and resurrection. Let us be present for God and for each other, witnessing to our faith and life as Jesus is lifted up on the cross for our salvation. Holy Week is a significant means of grace in our lives, and as much as we might try to skip straight on to Easter morning, we cannot get to the joy and relief of resurrection without first participating in Christ’s suffering and death.
As we enter into worship for all the services this week, let us turn to the Lord, remembering it is the Lord God who is near, who sustains and helps us, who keeps us from disgrace and shame, who justifies and vindicates us by his person and work.
Holy Week Blessings,
In preparation for Palm-Passion Sunday, read the Servant Song from Isaiah 50:4-9:
The Lord God has given me the tongue of a teacher, that I may know how to sustain the weary with a word. Morning by morning he wakens—wakens my ear to listen as those who are taught.
The Lord God has opened my ear, and I was not rebellious, I did not turn backwards. I gave my back to those who struck me, and my cheeks to those who pulled out the beard; I did not hide my face from insult and spitting.
The Lord God helps me; therefore I have not been disgraced; therefore I have set my face like flint, and I know that I shall not be put to shame; he who vindicates me is near.
Who will contend with me? Let us stand up together. Who are my adversaries? Let them confront me. It is the Lord God who helps me; who will declare me guilty? All of them will wear out like a garment; the moth will eat them up.