At Pentecost, the wind brought the Spirit of God which re-created the people of Israel as the New Testament church. 3,000 people were baptized that day and the church was born. The name is an alternate name for the Jewish celebration of the Feast of Weeks, which occurred fifty (Latin: pente-) days after Passover.
This Sunday is the Festival of Pentecost, which is the third great festival Sunday of the church year. At the Ascension, as well as prior to it, Jesus promised his disciples they would receive power when the Holy Spirit would come on them. On Pentecost we celebrate the coming of the Spirit and the blessed results.
The Seventh Sunday of Easter is the only Sunday in the church year between Ascension and Pentecost. We remember the hopeful and expectant anticipation of the first Christians as they awaited the Holy Spirit’s powerful presence. This Sunday is a time to remember that Christ keeps his promises, and even though he is ascended, he has not abandoned us.
Proverbs are sometimes tough for the Christian reader of the Bible. Not because they aren’t clear or don’t make sense, but because they sometimes appear empty of theological content. But Proverbs are actually intricate literary expressions which are less moralistic and far more theologically related to experience that is apparent at first glance.
So far in the divine worship service the congregation has been the primary speakers, opening their lips in prayer and praise. At this point the congregation falls silent and our Lord himself speaks to us. We open our ears and hearts to his life giving words spoken through the Lessons.
The Fourth Sunday of Easter is known as Good Shepherd Sunday because of Jesus’ words in the Gospel reading for the day, “I am the good shepherd.” The season of Easter may seem like an odd time to focus on the shepherd-like qualities of Jesus. But see how Jesus describes his authority as shepherd: the good shepherd has the authority to lay down his life for the sheep, and he has the authority to take his life back up again. The good shepherd’s identity is wrapped up in Easter power.
The hymn “The Day of Resurrection” is one of the oldest hymns in our hymnary—written more than a thousand years ago by Saint John of Damascus. At the Easter Eve midnight service it is customary in Eastern Orthodox churches for worshipers to carry unlighted candles which are lighted on signal while this hymn is sung.
Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!
On Easter Day, we celebrate the astonishing, miraculous resurrection of Jesus, an event that changed the course of history. Yet the whole redemptive work, not only the one phase of the resurrection, is the object of Easter’s celebration.
On Maundy Thursday, the church recalls the events of Jesus’ life the day before he was crucified. This includes Jesus washing his disciples’ feet and the institution of the Lord’s Supper.
Good Friday is the most solemn of all days in the Christian church year. But the English title Good Friday reflects the joy of Christ’s completed act of redemption.
Sometimes people walk away from the Bible confused. We don’t know why a character did what they did, or what they looked like, or even what the “moral of the story” is. Bible stories often lack the amount of detail and clarity that modern readers are accustomed to. And this is frustrating to us because we like lots of detail. But what if a glaring lack of detail in a Bible story is there on purpose?
The hymn “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God” is called the Battle Hymn of the Reformation. Written by Martin Luther, it has been called “the greatest hymn of the greatest man in the greatest period of Germany history.” By 1900 it had been translated into 53 languages, and a recent estimate counts that number at over 200 languages.
Lent is the season of preparation for Easter. The purpose of Lent is not to dwell on the sufferings of our Savior, but rather to prepare ourselves for a celebration of his resurrection. Lent is a time for repentance and prayer and for renewal of our Baptisms.