Last weekend I went north for my uncle Cliff's funeral. Funerals are so often a rough mix of grief and renewed relationship. Cliff was 88 and lived an incredibly full life, so his funeral was much more a celebration. It was such a joy to be with so many family I hadn't seen for a while -- some of them blood family, cousins and aunts and uncles on the Krogstad side of things. One of the greatest treats for me was seeing my aunt Doris from Kansas, her son Keith and his wife Micki, and her daughter Nita Kay. When we were kids, they made the trip north once every year or two and Nita Kay and I spent a lot of time together. Now it had been twenty years since we really caught up, and we had a great conversation. What a gift!
There was also a lot of family there for Cliff's funeral that I am not related to by blood, at least not by Krogstad blood; rather I am related to them by the blood of Jesus. I grew up at Faaberg Lutheran Church from my earliest days, and I have rarely been back for worship services or funerals there. It was so wonderful to reconnect with so many of the people I grew up with! I think often about having left home so far behind, and the truth in Jesus' words in Matthew 19:29. That has been my life for the last three decades.
Here is a picture of Faaberg, not taken last weekend but swiped from my friend Eric Bergeson's archive. The picture is taken across Cliff's field, across the cemetery where Cliff and a whole lot of my ancestors rest. If you were standing where this picture was taken, you could look over your right shoulder across the creek pasture, up the hill to the farmstead where I grew up:
The following pictures are not the best quality; I took them inside the sanctuary after the funeral with my cell phone. Here is the baptismal font where I was baptized June 5, 1966. The memorial plaque you can see in the picture names Peter Pederson (my mother's father) and Fritz Wahlin as those memorialized:
Here is a picture of the 110-year old organ. Dorothy, the organist, told me after the funeral that they finally had to do some repair work on the organ last year. The cowhide on the bellows had cracked after 110 years and had to be replaced. That's the first major repair work she knew of that had ever been done to it!
This is the altar at the front of the sanctuary. I stared at this view Sunday after Sunday through my childhood, and in the next few days I'll post some reflections on what I learned from various parts of this view. For the moment let me say it is unusual in a Lutheran church to have a depiction of Jesus on the cross so central, and I am very blessed to have grown up with this picture before me every Sunday.