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Palm Sunday, also known as the Sunday of the Passion, will be commemorated on Sunday, April 2, 2023.
To attend a Palm Sunday service, visit locator.lcms.org/church to find a local Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod congregation. Enter your zip code and click “Search” to see a list of area churches, service times, and contact information.
If you are homebound, traveling, or otherwise unable to attend a service in person, KFUO Radio airs worship services throughout the church year. Visit KFUO.org to view the schedule and listen to services.
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Liturgical color for Palm Sunday
Scarlet will adorn the altar on Palm Sunday through Maundy Thursday. It is a color worth investing in because it stands in contrast to the traditional red that is used on Festival Sundays. Scarlet’s use during the somber days of Holy Week help to offer a different message. As the Manual on the Liturgy points out, “scarlet is a color anciently associated with the passion … the color of blood” (p. 25). Violet may also be used where Scarlet vestments are not present.
Scripture readings for Palm Sunday
Three-Year Series A Lectionary
- Isaiah 50:4–9a
- Philippians 2:5–11
- John 12:12–19 (Procession)
- Matthew 26:1—27:66 or Matthew 27:11–66 or John 12:20–43
Now Is the Hour When the Son of Man Is Glorified
“Fear not, daughter of Zion; behold, your king is coming.” He comes in gentle humility, “sitting on a donkey’s colt,” yet also as the King of Israel “in the name of the Lord” (John 12:13, 15). His royal glory is faithful obedience and self-sacrificing service “to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Phil. 2:8). The love of God is manifested in the cross and Passion of His Son for the salvation of sinners. Since He has borne our sins and suffered our death, “God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name” (Phil. 2:9), and He exalts us in His resurrection. Our Lord did not hide His face “from disgrace and spitting” (Is. 50:6), but He trusted His God and Father, who raised Him from death and the grave and exalted Him to His right hand. This same King Jesus now comes to us in gentle humility in His Supper, where He feeds us with His body and cleanses and covers us with His blood, so that “after his resurrection” we also shall rise and enter the holy city (Matt. 27:52–53).
One-Year Series Lectionary
- Matthew 21:1–9 (Palm Sunday Procession) or John 12:12–19 (Palm Sunday Procession)
- Zechariah 9:9–12
- Philippians 2:5–11
- Matthew 26:1—27:66 or Matthew 27:11–54
The Cross and Passion of Our Lord Are the Hour of His Glory
“Behold, your King is coming to you . . . humble and mounted on a donkey” (Zech. 9:9–12; Mt. 21:1–9). Our Lord rides in this humble fashion because He is entering Jerusalem to humble Himself even to the point of death on a cross (Phil. 2:5–11). His kingly crown will not be made of gold but of thorns, the sign of sin’s curse. For His royal reign is displayed in bearing this curse for His people, saving us from our enemies by sacrificing His own life. The sinless One takes the place of the sinner so that the sinner can be freed and bear the name “Barabbas,” “son of the Father” (Matthew 26 and 27). It is at the name of this exalted Savior, Jesus, that we bow in humble faith. With the centurion who declared, “Truly this was the Son of God!” (Mt. 27:54), we are also given to confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Phil. 2:11).