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Divine Service themes for May

The Divine Service Guide for May provides thoughts on the feast of Pentecost and the ensuing Pentecost season.

The divine services that share the theme of “The foundation of the church” first of all highlight the appearing of the Lord and His return. This is the motivation for all our waiting and hope. In addition they describe the Petrine office that is discharged by the Chief Apostle ministry, along with its functions in the church of Christ. The divine service marking Ascension Day not only commemorates the historical events, but also highlights the assurance that all things are subject to Christ even today, and that His promise to return will therefore also be fulfilled.

The remarks concerning the missionary calling of the Apostles contained in the Bible reading on Ascension Day are not only associated with the foundation, but also the continuation, of the church of Christ. In particular, they emphasize the fact that the Lord is still with His church today (cf. Matthew 28: 20).

Two divine services sharing the theme of “Remaining together” remind us of Jesus’ commission for us to foster fellowship with Him and among one another. They make it clear that prayer and fellowship belong together. The Christian community is still also a fellowship of prayer. The relationship of the believers with Jesus Christ fills them with joy.

This is followed by the celebration of Pentecost, the day when the Holy Spirit was revealed, also known as the “birthday of the church of Christ”. In His farewell discourses the Lord promised His Apostles the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. This is the reason we associate Pentecost with such joy because we know that the Holy Spirit is present and active in the church to this day.

The following series of themes related to the Pentecost season begin by describing the relationship between the vibrancy that emanates from the congregation and the congregation’s growth. The first Sunday after Pentecost (Trinity Sunday) highlights the identifying characteristic of the church that waits for its Lord, namely oneness of spirit, which corresponds to the trinity of God. This same Sunday marks the start of a period without any major celebrations, which lasts until the end of the church year. The ensuing series of themes thus apply to more general aspects of our life of faith.

The month of May ends with a look back to the events of Pentecost and emphasizes the awareness that we are bearers of the gift of the Holy Spirit. This is associated with the appeal not to suppress the Spirit of God so that blessed developments can also be recognized in us. 

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