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The Holy Spirit

The divine service theme for the month of May, The Holy Spirit

The two high feasts of Ascension Day and Pentecost in particular play a large role in defining the month of May and the themes treated in the divine services.

In the time prior to Pentecost, the focus is on the anticipation of the Holy Spirit. It is for this reason that the divine service on the first Sunday of May emphasizes that the love of God was also poured out in us when we received the gift of the Holy Spirit through Holy Sealing. This means that we have been permitted to experience the love of God in a special manner by receiving the sacrament. Nevertheless, it is not our possession to which we cling selfishly, but rather a gift. Let us pass it along and talk about it with others.

On Ascension Day we commemorate the return of the risen Son of God to the Father. The disciples of Jesus were witnesses of the ascension. It was on Ascension Day that Jesus Christ the firstfruits was visibly elevated and exalted. From that moment onward, the Lord Jesus—who is also true Man—has been seated at the right hand of God. It was at this point that the mission of the Apostles—which every Christian is to support—began. According to the testimony of the New Testament, Jesus Christ, who has ascended into heaven, will also return in order to take His own unto Himself.

The focus of the sermon on the Sunday following Ascension Day is on the help provided by the Holy Spirit. We experience this help and support of the Holy Spirit when we live in conformance with the gospel and allow ourselves to be prepared for the return of Christ in word and sacrament by the Apostles.

The celebration of Pentecost is a reference to the powerful intervention of God in history. The Holy Spirit accompanies the church of Christ through time and strengthens the believers in their endeavor to live in accordance with the favor of God and prepare themselves for the return of Christ.

The Sunday after Pentecost is devoted to the Trinity (Trinity Sunday). With Pentecost, the self-revelation of God is complete. He has now manifested Himself as the Father, the Son, and as the Holy Spirit. The three divine persons are one, and we are to take direction from this oneness.

On the fourth Sunday in May we explore our unity with the apostolate. We have all been given the commission to proclaim the gospel in word and deed.

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