This year the Feast of the Annunciation of our Lord falls on Palm Sunday, the beginning of Holy Week. While the celebration of the Annunciation is then moved to two weeks after Easter, the conjunction of the two is not lacking significance. The Annunciation, found in the first chapter of St. Luke’s Gospel, remembers the visit of the Holy Angel Gabriel to the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Angel Gabriel spoke to her the Word of God, “And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.” As God said so it was, at that moment our Lord was conceived in the womb of the Virgin Mary. At that moment the Word became flesh. At that moment God the Son took on human nature. The Virgin Mary responded in faith, submitting herself to the Divine Will by saying, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” The celebration of the Annunciation shows us the beginning of the human life of our Lord, and shows us when all human life begins. Not at the birth nine months later, but in the darkness of the womb. Our Lord was a human even as a single cell and went through all the development we went through even before His birth. Even in this womb He was to bear the name Jesus, which means Savior. Even in the womb He was the Savior of the world. This leads us to Palm Sunday and Holy Week. On Palm Sunday our Lord entered into Jerusalem not to rule or to be praised, but to suffer and die. His triumph was completed in His death on the cross. His life begun at His Annunciation found its completion as He breathed His last on the cross on Good Friday. That is why He came, He came to die. To die so that we all might have life. That is the value of human life at all stages, it is valuable enough for Almighty God Himself to come and die so that that life might live forever. Indeed our Lord died so as to conquer death even now we look to the light of Easter, when in the darkness of the tomb our Lord rose again in victory. We as Lutherans hope to see all human life on earth be joined through the Sacrament of Holy Baptism with the death of our Lord and His resurrection. We value all human life because all human life, even from conception, has been redeemed by our Lord. For any human life to be hurt or harmed in any way, to be enslaved for the pleasures of others, to be unjustly ended by violence is a rejection of what our Lord has done for all of us. For each one of these lives our Lord was conceived, for each one He suffered, for each one He died. Let us pray that all might find the value of their lives and all life by dying and rising with our Lord Jesus Christ in waters of Holy Baptism.