We started this blog to show the connections that we have up here in the North Country and to show that in so many ways we are all in this together. The Body of Christ is everywhere expanding and our life together is traceable in the relationships and connections that we have. As we cross one another’s paths we also live under the cross.
Kay (Kittelson) Keller passed away on July 25, 2013 at her home in Hillsboro. I have known her since 1978. Kay was wife to Ross, whose mother was in charge of my father’s nursing care for many years. She was daughter to Georgene Kittelson – Grafton, sister to Greg (Sally) Kittelson – Edmond, OK, Guy Kittelson – Grand Forks, Kristi (Bill) Dahl – Grafton, Bonnie (Kevin) Lien – Fargo, Brett Kittelson – Grafton, David Kittelson – Grand Forks, Troy (Sally) Kittelson – Hoople, and Shane Kittelson – Middle River, MN, all of whom either are or were members of my churches. Another sister Kerri (Wayne) Stegman – Drayton recently lost her two parents in law, Herb and Carol Stegman (see 4/1). Because of all these connections, Pastor Keller from Hillsboro graciously allowed me to participate in the service.
He preached a powerful Christ centered sermon the proclaimed Christ’s victory over death and also recognized Key’s courage and faith as well as our grief and mourning.
We have been and are as human beings, surrounded by death. In our parishes alone we have been exposed to so many funerals and the passing of so many friends that it is hard to keep up with. Articles have been written questioning whether our theology has much to offer to modern Americans who experience death and sorrow. The idea that death is the gateway to life everlasting just doesn’t cut it anymore according to some. On line discussions and real questions from real people want to know if there is a practical model for people wishing to speak meaningfully to the bereaved today. I believe that Luther’s theology puts grief and loss into a perspective “that recognizes that death is not the end for the believer in Christ,” but some don’t believe that we demonstrate how particularly or distinctively equipped Luther, or even Lutheranism, is to convey this insight to a frequently skeptical post-Enlightenment world.
Well, we don’t convey insights, we preach Christ and we enter into the grief. Knowing that death is not the end does not stop the mourning. In 1545, Luther wrote to a friend whose wife and daughter had both recently died. Three years earlier, Luther had lost his own beloved thirteen-year-old daughter Magdalene, and he confessed that “‘it may appear strange, but I am still mourning the death … and I am not able to forget her. Yet I know surely that she is in heaven, that she has eternal life there, and that God has thereby given me a true token of his love in having, even while I live, taken my flesh and blood to his Fatherly heart'”
Thank you Pastor Kessler for your message and God bless the family.