Minneola Lutheran Church

Minneola Lutheran Church is located 13638 County 50 Blvd. near Zumbrota. Kate Josephson / Contributor

She warned us by holding up the box of Kleenex. Rev. Hannah was in the sanctuary at Minneola Lutheran Church near the town of Goodhue on Thursday evening, April 1, 2021, for their Holy Week worship service. It combined traditional elements depicting both Maundy Thursday and Good Friday.

She shared a few passages from some of her recent “meandering” journaling with its insights, outlooks and hints of “petulance.”

She and others have been considering the meaning of the cross. She feels strongly that it mustn’t be seen merely as an ornament “relegated to an accessory.” It instructs us: “Put your body where your values are.”

An entry online that had caught her attention referred to the crucifixion as a “singularity” — creating a portal at the horizon. (That caught my attention because as she was live-streaming my husband and I were watching a two-part episode of a science fiction series with that very phenomenon as part of the story.)

After officiating the institution of communion farther back from the camera beyond the rail, Jesus’ death on the cross was further dramatized up close and personal. Referring to his last breaths with words including “battle and rattle” and “hole in my soul,” Rev. Hannah said the atmosphere at that time and place had shifted from taunting to compassionate. Putting herself at the scene that followed as one who had sat at his feet and stood by his side, she’d stepped into the cold tomb. Christ’s hand fell off the edge of the ledge where his body had been placed. She lovingly tucked it back into the folds of the linen.

After putting a tissue to good use (while I had another sip of wine), she shifted smoothly into singing another refrain of “stay with me, remain here with me, watch and pray” — changing the atmosphere for me from dire to dear.

As at many other churches, the altar was ceremoniously stripped bare. Communion ware, candle sticks and colorful cloths were solemnly set aside. Earlier in the day during Minneola’s community prayer time, there had been talk of hope and confidence starting to take shape along the periphery. But now, we focus on lack, loss and lifelessness ... for the time being.

Kate Josephson grew up in rural southwestern Minnesota — going to a small town church every Sunday — worked as a church secretary in Red Wing for seven years. She continues to seek out religious experiences wherever she goes.

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