My mother told me the news in that “I haven’t had a chance to tell him,” sort of way as we rode with my grandfather to our Sunday night dinner.
I knew who my great uncle was more than I knew him. We were family though we weren’t that close. We weren’t distant – he lived along a long country street with my grandmother’s family but for the couple years he lived in Minnesota (I don’t normally mention Minnesota this much in a lifetime). Our relationship was a textbook case of happen-chance among extended family. All the same, I respected and took pride in him. He ran the physical plant services at Valparaiso University. They named the energy center after him some time ago.
But as we went in to Immanuel Lutheran Church to attend my great uncle’s wake, I quickly became re-reminded of the power atmospherics play in an event: thick brick walls, rustic stone floor, a sizable, soothing baptismal fountain and a big pipe organ that is rumored to have been donated by my great-grandmother (my grandfather denies the rumor so much that it only makes it plausible). I’m not saying that DaVinci’s work adorn the walls and Michelangelo painted the ceiling, but the first “Christian” churches were little hidden rooms in the back of store thatches, out of site from the Roman government that would have hauled them away had they been found.
And, yes, they were found often.
I’m not trying to claim “victim” for the Church, they were persecuted until they got power and then they persecuted until a balance was maintain (if…but that’s a story for another day), but Immanuel Lutheran Church does a great job holding to the materials, colors and tones of the biblical area, mixed with a big pipe organ. The ambiance artistically pays homage to the beauty and humility of the Church as opposed to the power, majesty or fraternity most churches project. No gold chalices and blue-eyed Jesus’ in these dwellings. Immanuel Lutheran Church has the blend of beauty and respect you can’t find in a funeral parlor, making it the archetypal reason why churches make for great wakes. That, and that metaphysical connection…
It’s those little things this lowly copywriter (or copy writer) from the Chicago, IL area tried to keep in mind, that penitent sense of beauty and respect, as I wrote my book of blues. It’s the same approach I strive for now as I try to learn how to publish a book of blues.