Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Easter memories of song, tattoos & faith April 9, 2023

My favorite Easter hymn. (Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted file photo)

IT IS MY ABSOLUTE favorite Easter hymn—“I Know that My Redeemer Lives.” And there is a reason behind that choice.

As a child, I sang that song with my Sunday School class during Easter worship services at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Vesta. Dressed in our Easter finery—girls in pastel dresses and Easter hats, boys in dress pants and shirts, some with bow ties cinching their necks—we belted out the joyful words about the risen Lord.

To this day, I can recite most of the verses. The words are that ingrained in my memory. Words of triumph, love, blessings, assurance and so much more. I feel my soul filling with Easter morning hope in the memories of singing that aged hymn.

I admittedly cannot carry a tune or read a single musical note. And I admit to a bit of fear on those long ago Easter mornings in rural southwestern Minnesota. Not fear about forgetting the words to a hymn. But rather a dislike of sitting in the St. John’s balcony with only a low, partial wall separating me from the sanctuary below. I never jostled for the front pew in that upstairs packed with kids.

I hold another memory from Easter morning. Not of danger, but rather of youthful disobedience. Mom asked my siblings and me not to tattoo our arms before church services. Of course, we didn’t listen and excitedly held washcloth to paper tattoos, imprinting temporary art (from Easter egg dyeing kits) onto our skin. In the end, I don’t think anyone really cared as long as we showed up to sing at church.

And so all these decades later, I remember my favorite hymn and how my faith has carried me through life. Through joyful moments, through ordinary days, through really difficult times…

He lives to bless me with his love.

He lives to help in time of need.

I know that my Redeemer lives!

A joyful Easter to all of you from my home in southern Minnesota, not from the balcony of St. John’s!

TELL ME: Do you have a favorite Easter hymn and/or memory? I’d like to hear.

© Copyright 2023 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


12 Responses to “Easter memories of song, tattoos & faith”

  1. beth Says:

    what a wonderful blend of easter memories

  2. Lovely memories, Audrey. When i was a kid, growing up in the south, Easter was usually a celebration of spring and warmer weather, with my family. We would all go out on the first picnic of the year. Mom would hide boiled eggs & us kids would hunt for them. Good times. ❤

  3. Laurine R Jannusch Says:

    I also remember that balcony railing in Vesta–it was certainly low enough to inspire a certain amount of fear when one looked over it into the sanctuary below. I always shivered a bit when I sat on the organ bench up there and played a service! Laurine Jannusch

  4. Definitely Christ the Lord is Risen Today.

  5. Sandra Says:

    Anyone from Trinity in Faribault has many. When I realized how much a part of me Holy Week was, in the early 90s, praise music and contemporary services were being required of worship directors from traditional backgrounds, was stressful. So, to lend support, joined that group. Easter contemporary? oh, please. I went to sunrise service (when they still had them) to get my trumpet “fix” for Jesus Christ Is Risen Today, before being part of the guitar group. “Easter” to me would also need getting up early, pancakes and fellowship. We are all the same “at the foot of the cross”….yes, that’s a song. This week I will settle in to watch many church service videos….only good thing to come out of covid time. I pray Easter ’23 was good for you and yours – all that vit. D sunshine didn’t hurt!

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