Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord.
Praise God in his sanctuary;
praise him in his mighty heavens.
Praise him for his acts of power;
praise him for his surpassing greatness.
Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,
Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord! We are still rejoicing over the celebration of our Savior’s resurrection. We are cheered by the sunny spring days and new foliage and flowers blanketing our gardens. We are filled with hope that the health of all people will soon be renewed. We are thankful that we worship in freedom, and we pray for those who are yearning for that privilege.
In May the blessing of worship centers on Ascension and Pentecost. On Thursday, the 13th, we remember the day that Jesus returned to sit at the right hand of the Father, where the heavenly hosts sing his praises. “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!” (Rev 5:12) Jesus ascended into heaven to prepare a place for us and to continue his rule over all creation until he returns on Judgment Day. Before he left, however, Jesus promised the disciples that he would still always be with them, and he gave them the great commission—to preach the Gospel to all creation. Finally, he told them to wait in Jerusalem until he would send them the gift of the Holy Spirit. This special gift would embolden and enlighten the disciples as they carried out their new mission. Praise the Lord! Praise him in his mighty heavens!
Only ten days later, Jesus kept his promise. It was the traditional day of Pentecost that the Jews always celebrated on the 50th day after the Sabbath of Passover week. On that particular Pentecost something extraordinary happened. As the believers were gathered together in Jerusalem, the sound of a violent wind filled the house and what appeared to be tongues of fires rested on each of them. They began speaking in other languages. Because it was a festival week for the Jews, many worshipers had come from other countries to join in the celebration. Naturally, people were astonished and confused by the unusual sights and sounds. Peter explained that a prophecy from Joel was being fulfilled—the Holy Spirit was being poured out on the believers. (Joel 2:28-32) Peter then shared the message of salvation and urged them all to repent and be baptized. Praise be to God, about 3,000 people were baptized that day. Let everything that has breath praise the LORD.
The Holy Spirit continues to build the kingdom in the same way. He carries out his work so quietly that we often forget how powerful he is. He has the power to break into our stubborn, stony hearts and minds. He accomplishes this through the very words he inspired. The gospel message is preached and thousands of people repent and are baptized. Martin Luther summarized the work of the Holy Spirit with these familiar words from the Catechism, “In the same way (by the gospel), he calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian church on earth, and keeps it with Jesus Christ in the one true faith.” Not only does the Holy Spirit give us faith, but he also unites us with other Christians, helps us understand the Scriptures, and guides us to lead a God-pleasing life. Praise the Lord! Praise him for his acts of power and his surpassing greatness!
We can sing heartfelt hymns of praise as we remember our Ascended Lord and celebrate the gifts of the Holy Spirit!
Praise the God of all creation;
Praise the Father’s boundless love.
Praise the Lamb, our expiation,
Priest and King enthroned above.
Praise the Spirit of salvation,
Him by whom our spirits live.
To the great Jehovah give.
Hymn 380 Christian Worship
Happy Mother’s Day
She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.
She speaks with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
She watches over the affairs of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her.
Mother’s Day is celebrated in the US (and also Germany and Switzerland) on the second Sunday in May—May 9 this year. Sorry to our UK moms, we missed your day. In the UK Mother’s Day is celebrated on the fourth Sunday in Lent, which was March 14. Next year we will be paying closer attention.
Prayer of Thanks for Mother’s Day
God, in whom we move and have our being,
You know us, love us and sustain us.
We praise you for your goodness and thank you for your care.
You created the world and all that is in it.
You knitted us together in our mother’s womb.
You made us male and female in your image.
You made each one of unique and individual—unique in the talents and gifts we have to serve you.
We had gone astray, lost in our sin, yet you came looking for us.
You sent your son Jesus to be one of us.
He gave up his life so that we might be found in you.
Gracious God, today we especially thank you for mothers-
For their care and nurture, for love and support, wisdom and sacrificial giving,
For tears and smiles, encouragement and correction.
Thank you that in such love we see a reflection of you own love for us.
Fill us afresh with your Holy Spirit,
That we may know your great love and truth.
Anoint us with your spirit’s power that we may witness to you
and serve you and love your people and world.
To the glory of God—Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
~ written by Howard Carter