Six large white candles on individual wooden pedestals stood on these steps Sunday evening, March 14, 2021. They were perfectly centered on the doors under the cross in a ceremony of remembrance.
I admit, I wanted to watch the brief video partly to see if the candles would successfully get and stay lit in the breeze. They did. Pastors Greg and Heidi of First Presbyterian Church in Red Wing had to do a little problem solving and situation management on the last two, but their determination prevailed.
They both were swaying slightly to the gathering music in matching black robes and personalized long white stoles. He wore a black mask; she wore white. If only I’d looked out a nearby window at the right time I could’ve seen some of those to whom they spoke — recognizing them by name even with or perhaps partly because of the masks they each wore.
Psalms were read about “miry depths,” faint hearts and a variety of afflictions.
The first candle was lit for physical loss — the 534,000-plus who lost their lives to COVID over the past year. Other losses were given voice as well, such as “lingering effects” and “different ways we might not even know yet.”
The second candle was for emotional well-being, a sense of balance. The third represented spiritual centeredness and celebrations. (Nearby birds chirped in consolation.)
Next was naming the loss of financial stability along with professional identity or aspirations. Then came relational losses, including danger for some.
Finally, we were asked to consider ways we have grown, discovering “new awarenesses and appreciations.” (Cooking and technology got shoutouts.)
The closing prayer acknowledged grief and suffering; it asked for healing. Saying we remember so we can go deeper, the prayer explained that as current reality has been amplified, past feelings have been “compounded,” perhaps also confounded.
Remembering other occasions and different steps, I took the liberty of hanging my hat along with my spring coat on the front door for a moment to more clearly envision an Easter parade — in some fashion or other.
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.