Tags

, , , , ,

St. Peter's Lutheran Church in Otisco, Minn. Otisco is a few miles south of Waseca on Highway 13. It was once a bustling little railroad community, but now has just a few homes and the church. I spoke to a group of pastors at the church on Tuesday.

St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Otisco, Minn. Otisco is a few miles south of Waseca on Highway 13. It was once a bustling little railroad community, but now has just a few homes and the church. I spoke to a group of pastors at the church on Tuesday.

I’m learning more about my book the more I talk about it. In the past three weeks, I’ve spoken to three faith-based groups: at the First Presbyterian Church in Mankato, at Assisi Heights in Rochester, and at a meeting of the Minnesota River Conference pastors hosted in Otisco, Minn.

What a great altar. I'm used to seeing ornate altars in Catholic churches, but not in Lutheran churches. But this church is 120 years old (almost 70 years in its current location), so that probably accounts for the altar. My church, Immanuel Lutheran in Mankato, once had a beautiful altar but it was destroyed in a 1971 fire.

What a great altar. I’m used to seeing ornate altars in Catholic churches, but not in Lutheran churches. But this church is 120 years old (almost 70 years in its current location), so that probably accounts for the altar. My church, Immanuel Lutheran in Mankato, once had a beautiful altar but it was destroyed in a 1971 fire and not replaced.

The white cloth of Easter.

The white cloth of Easter.

My talk in Otisco on Tuesday was preceded by a short worship service, to which I was cordially invited. Pastor Scott Williams of St. Peter’s Lutheran Church crafted a service that thematically related to my book. We read Psalm 116, from which comes “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints,” the epigraph to my book and the verse etched on the back of the Zimmerman gravestone in Calvary Cemetery. The gospel reading was John 14:1-14, “the way, the truth, and the life,” where Jesus talks about preparing a mansion with many rooms for all of us in heaven.

Then Pastor Williams’ delivered a message where he recounted his first introduction to death, and his resistance to family visits to cemeteries because to him, they were a place where his family cried each time.

In my presentation I talked about the book really coming out of a need to answer just one question: In the face of grief and tragedy, how do people go on? My book is filled with examples, both of people I didn’t know (such as Jim Zimmerman) and people I did know (my grandparents). I really didn’t realize that was the central question I was exploring all along in the writing process. The book may have been a bit different if that had been more obvious to me. I think the theme of faith–which is in there now–would have been stronger.

Advertisements