Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
Doubtless, many pastors in Canada this year will draw a connection between the joy of Easter and the great relief of spring after a long, hard winter. Eggs and lilies picture for us the life of Christ that emerged from the death of His stone tomb. So also do shoots emerging from the cold ground and buds springing open on the stark, bare branches of fruit trees. This is what our new life in Christ is like—His death was real, not just apparent; but His life nevertheless triumphed over it.
Of course, this image only works for us Christians in the northern hemisphere, where Easter is celebrated in the spring! But it’s an ancient and enduring Christian image. The church father John of Damascus wrote an Easter hymn in the 8th century that sang:
’Tis the spring of souls today: Christ has burst His prison
And from three days’ sleep in death As a sun has risen;
All the winter of our sins, Long and dark, is flying
From His light, to whom is giv’n Laud and praise undying. (LSB 487:2)
St Paul writes to the Romans that each of us experiences Easter personally when we are baptised. In the early Christian community of Jerusalem catechumens were actually baptised in the cave where Christ was buried, to emerge into the Church of the Holy Sepulchre for their first Communion on Easter Sunday. The new life of Easter is made that real for us, too, through Baptism.
It is perhaps a crude analogy to compare the life of the seminary to this high and holy truth. But we, too, are emerging into a new life of sorts. This past February we received a single large gift that erased the remaining portion of our debt, accumulated over 30 years. All of Lutheran Church–Canada rejoiced with us at the news. What a burden has been lifted! But as with the Christian’s new life in Christ, this is not the end but a new beginning. We now have the opportunity to tackle the challenges of the future without the weight of the past. We can concentrate on attracting men to the pastoral vocation to fill the crying need in our parishes. We can focus on providing ever better theological education to our students and to the laity of LCC.
As much as ever, we need your help. Pray that God would inspire men to enter the pastoral vocation. And please offer the faith-filled sacrifice of gifts to support our important work. You may send a cheque, phone in a credit card, give a gift through your congregational offering, or give online through Canada Helps. We are committed to dealing responsibly with the gifts of money and people that are placed into our care. Together we can joyfully participate in the mission of bringing Christ’s Easter joy to all people.
Rev. Dr Thomas M. Winger, President.