A dear friend of mine stood behind a table in the backyard of someone I didn’t know prepared to preside over the Eucharist.

I don’t usually attend this “house church” turned garden church, but I’m still on the email list. The weather was great, I didn’t need to think about bringing a potluck dish since that’s no longer being practiced given CDC guidelines and I mostly wanted to see how my friend was doing after getting a serious diagnoses unrelated to the pandemic.

After narrowly extricating myself from a cramped parking area (with the help of a neatly masked man with kind calm eyes) to opt for a spot about a lovely block’s walk away, I had a moment to enjoy the view of huge pale tree branch floating far out in the Mississippi.

The host provided music on his keyboards by the hedge while the dozen or so of us hummed behind our masks in our safely spaced folding chairs. Our presider looked great in her long sleeveless white dress and many colored stole (I have to remember to ask her where she got that). The horizontal yellow bands matched the single lily blossom in the clear glass orb vase.

She asked us to consider the “kin-dom” of God instead of “kingdom.”

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Reflecting on the readings, Corene, an ordained Roman Catholic Womenpriest, shared that one of the “weeds” growing along side her mustered courage is being “bossy” — more so now responding to her recent health situation. She repeated for all to hear that her husband said “Amen” to that.

There was also a parable of leavening agents of love, hope and belief causing spirits to rise.

During the discussion about finding a balance between kindness and justice, a participant cautioned against reverting to “tribalism” during times of stress.

After the carefully distributed communion, it appeared the mingling dogs were partaking of some leftovers and a witness wondered out loud if it was their “first communion.” — I’m glad my mask was firmly in place for my little eruption of laughter.

During announcements, parents in attendance asked for extra face masks to mail to their healthcare worker son at a hospital that is being overwhelmed with COVID patients; adding, given that many of his patients won’t survive, these times will be extra hard on their “sensitive kid” son already working 12-hour shifts.

In the closing version of a common prayer we asked the divine to “illuminate the opportunities” and be an abiding presence.