University Lutheran ChurchLutheran Campus Ministry

at Arizona State University - 340 E. 15th Street, Tempe, AZ 85281-6612 (480) 967-3543 (map)
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Spring Break

Pastor Gary McCluskey
Pastor Gary N. McCluskey

Pastor's Notes
Gary N. McCluskey, Pastor

In Arizona Spring can be deceiving. We talk about "Spring Training" or schools close for "Spring Break". Yet much of the nation would describe what we glibly call "Spring", "Summer".  When temperatures hover in the 80's and occasionally head past 90 degrees, this is not most people's definition of spring.  Yet, for those of us who live here, why change what is working? Life, it often seems, doesn't get much better than Arizona in "Spring".

Having personally lived in or near the Rocky Mountains in both Colorado and Northern New Mexico for 20 years, there were definite signs of spring in the Rockies. And those were welcome signs after a long, cold, winter. A wildflower called a pasque flower was generally the first sentinel of spring. Breaking through the snow with its blooms, one got a hint of what was on the way. Then came tulips and jonquils, followed by pansies. Change was coming! A new life with green lawns, flowers blooming, and warmer temperatures was about to begin. Lifestyles would change! Our clothing would change as layers could be shed, shorts and sandals worn, and new outdoor sports would commence. We were to become more active. Even mealtimes could change by moving dinner outside.  I often wondered how important a difficult winter was to allow us to better appreciate summer.

Easter for American Christians can be deceiving. Yes, Easter and Resurrection are to bring forth new life. Yet for people who have most everything they truly need, new life seems less compelling. Why change what is working? We wouldn't want to mess with a good thing. 

For centuries the Christian church has observed Lent and Holy Week as a buildup to Easter. I am convinced the sober seriousness of Lent and the sadness of Holy Week are crucial to better appreciating the joy of Easter. An Easter without Holy Week could be an Easter than invites us to go along as usual with little notice or thought about new life. 

Think of how rugged those pasque flowers must be....struggling to break through the snow and cold to bring their colorful hint of what is to come. Think too of how strong we can be as those who know of God's love in Jesus poured out especially during this great and holy week. May we too be signs of the new life that can come.

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