The word “peace” is central for God’s people to hear time and again as part of worship. The peace of the Lord is exchanged between pastor and congregation and often also spoken among the people of the congregation. It is our blessing to hear that word of peace from our Lord once again today in our world—which also has unrest and challenges.
Today’s text is from John 20:19–31 (Jesus appears to His disciples who are behind locked doors.) .
Palm Sunday begins with unbridled joy as we recall how Jesus entered Jerusalem riding on a donkey, while being acclaimed by the crowds with loud shouts of “Hosanna” and boisterous waving of palm branches. So today we begin with songs of praise and waving of palm branches as we hail Jesus as the One worthy of all glory, laud, and honor. But then the solemnness of Holy Week also begins. With a time of silence, the service shifts our focus to Jesus’ path to the cross. As foretold by prophets long ago, Jesus was stricken and afflicted, beaten and spit upon, crucified, and He died. He did this out of divine love for all of humanity, taking on Himself the sins of all people for our forgiveness. Today’s worship reflects the pattern of our lives. At times we experience unbridled joy and celebration. And then, sometimes in the next moment, we experience heartbreaking suffering. Jesus is there with us—in the joyful celebrations, in the heartbreak and suffering. He alone can transform it all into deeper love for God and neighbor. The hour of Jesus’ death on the cross is the hour of our life and salvation.