When I heard rain hitting the windows, I tried to remember where I had recently seen a picture of a double rainbow online — ah, yes, Prescott, Wis.

Looking at a listing of churches in Prescott, Joy Lutheran caught my attention. I liked the words: “Relevant, hopeful, generous” and clicked into the video for the July 12 worship service.

Pastor Steve took off his red cloth mask in the church building’s sanctuary. I imagined sitting on one of those shiny dark wood chairs with the curved back and the white padding. Pastor explained how sanctuary means “safe“ and that it’s not yet safe to congregate there again. Instead he emphasized that sanctuary is not necessarily a place — it’s the presence of God as a “living sanctuary.”

While he was talking I was watching landscapers in the light rain cleaning up the daylily patches across the street and a lone jogger gracefully bound past.

After the pastor lead singing of an alleluia accompanying himself with his guitar he continued to stand in front of a lit candle and projected maps.

The description of King David’s adventure was getting so exciting I was tempted to hit pause and go make some popcorn. He was explaining about the 25 miles of plains where chariots could race and how David narrowly escaped his foes by feigning insanity. Prior to that, a religious leader showed compassion. He read from various psalms including about taking refuge in “the shadow of your wings.”

Pastor Steve said he could understand why people have given up on the church but stated that transformation is “not done yet.”

When reading the prayer of Saint Francis he appropriately emphasized the word “joy.”

Inviting those listening to partake in the remembrance of communion, he suggested crackers and juice as viable options to share.

I enjoyed the VBS promotional video, hearing about parking lot worship on Wednesdays and Zoom fellowship. I really enjoyed the last song by military personnel with joyous faces above their camo singing “this is the sound of one voice” (grateful that I had a box of tissues handy).

Pastor concluded with, “Don’t get tired of being careful.” Be energized by being full of care.