Reverend Marxhausen led a congregation of several thousand at St. Philip Lutheran Church. Quite a few attended Columbine. He spent much of the "hostage crisis" at Leawood, searching for students, calming parents. His parish appeared to be spared. He organized a vigil that first evening, at St. Philip. He distributed communion, a task he found utterly soothing. The gently whispered interplay calmed him like a mantra: The body of Christ... Amen... The body of Christ... Amen.... It was a steady cadence: his softly commanding baritone punctuated by a brief, nearly inaudible response. A fluttering variety of tenors and sopranos colored his symphony, but the rhythm remained the same. As the communion line dwindled, a woman softly broke the spell. "The body of Christ..." he said. "Klebold." What? It startled him at first, but this happened occasionally: a parishioner lost herself in prayer on the slow march up the aisle, and the pastor's voice startled her out of it. Reverend Marxhausen tried again: "The body of Christ..." "Klebold." This time he recognized the word--from the TV; he had forgotten his brief association with the family. He looked up. The woman continued: "Don't forget them in their hour of need." She accepted the host and moved on. That night, Marxhausen checked the parish rolls. Tom and Sue Klebold and their two boys, Dylan and Byron, had registered five years ago. They had not stayed long, but that did not diminish his responsibility. If they had failed to find a spiritual home, they remained under his care. He found a family close to Tom and Sue and sent word that he was available. They called a few days later. "I need your help," Tom said. That was obvious; his voice was shaking. He needed a funeral for his boy. How embarrassing to ask after a five-year absence, but Tom was out of options. He also had a requirement. "It has to be confidential," he said. Of course, Marxhausen said--to both counts. He talked to Tom and then Sue, asked how they were doing. "They used the word 'devastated,'" he recalled later. "I didn't want to ask them any more." Tom and Sue received the body on Thursday. The service was conducted on Saturday. It was done quietly, with just fifteen people, including friends, family, and clergy. Marxhausen brought another minister and both their wives. Dylan lay in an open casket, his face restored, no sign of the gaping head wound. He looked peaceful. His face was surrounded by a circle of Beanie Babies and other stuffed toys. When Marxhausen arrived, Tom was in denial, Sue was falling apart. She crumpled into the pastor's arms. Marxhausen engulfed her. Her frail body quaked; she sobbed there for perhaps a minute and a half--"which is a long time," he said. Tom just couldn't see his little boy as that killer. "This was not my son" is how Marxhausen paraphrased his statements the next day. "What you see in the papers was not my son." The other mourners arrived, and the awkwardness only increased. A liturgy wasn't going to help them. Marxhausen felt a terrible need to scrap his service and let them speak. "Do you mind if we just talk for a while?" he suggested. "And then we'll worship." He shut the door and asked who wanted to begin. "There was this one couple, they just poured out their hearts," he recalled. "Their son used to play with Dylan when the boys were little. They loved Dylan." Where did the guns come from? Tom asked. They had never had more than a BB gun. Where did the violence come from? What was this Nazi stuff? And the anti-Semitism? Sue said. She's Jewish, Dylan was half Jewish, what kind of sense did this make? They were such good parents, a friend said. Dylan was a great kid. "He was like our son!" They went around and around--fewer than a dozen of them, but for forty-five minutes they spilled out anguish and confusion, and love for the awkward kid who'd had occasional outbursts. Dylan's brother, Byron, mostly listened. He sat quietly between Tom and Sue and finally spoke up near the end. "I want to thank you all for being here today, for my parents and myself," he said. "I love my brother." Then Marxhausen read from Scripture and offered some muted encouragement. "True enough, there will be those who do not know grace and will want to give only judgment," he said. But help would come in time and in surprising ways. "I have no idea how you are going to heal. But God still wants to reach out to you and will always reach out to you in some way." He read the Old Testament story of Absalom, beloved son of King David. Absalom skillfully ingratiated himself to his father, the court, and all the kingdom but secretly plotted to seize the throne. Eventually, he thrust Israel into civil war. He appeared poised to vanquish his father, but David's generals prevailed. The king was informed first of the triumph, then of his son's death. "David's grief made the victory like a defeat, and the people stole silently into the city," Marxhausen read from 2 Samuel. David wept and cried out, "O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would God I had died for thee, O Absalom, my son." ____ The Klebolds were afraid to bury Dylan. His grave would be defaced. It would become an anti-shrine. They cremated his body and kept the ashes in the house. Marxhausen assumed the media would get wind of the service. He asked one of the Klebold attorneys how to handle the inquiries. The attorney said, "Just tell them what you've seen here tonight." So he did. He told the New York Times, which featured the account on the front page. Tom and Sue were racked by grief, guilt, and utter confusion, he said: "They lost their son, but their son was also a killer." He told the story lovingly. He described Tom and Sue as "the loneliest people on the planet." Don Marxhausen made some of his parish exceptionally proud. That was their pastor--a man who could find compassion in his heart for anyone. A man capable of consoling the couple who had unwittingly produced a monster. That's why they had packed the pews to hear him every Sunday. Some of his parish, and much of the community, was appalled. Lonely? The Klebolds were lonely? Several of the victims were still awaiting burial. Survivors still faced surgery. It would be months before some would walk again, or talk again, or discover they never would. Some people had trouble rousing sympathy for the Klebolds. Their loneliness was not an especially popular concern. ____ Wayne and Kathy Harris presumably held some ceremony for Eric. But they have never once spoken to the press. Word never leaked.