The last time I was in River Falls I drove around an area new to me. There were a couple of inviting benches on either side of big doors (and a couple of nice girls riding by on bicycles) — Journey Church.

Looking at the worship video for August 2, I saw musicians in dark t-shirts, blue jeans and light masks in front of a majestically lit rugged cross on the wall. The lead vocalist distanced from others was mask-free. I quite liked the special effect of mask-muffled harmonizing tones and audible words (not “watermelon”) of the others, which reminded me of brass musical instruments using specially designed mutes.

Lyrics to one of the songs are, “You take what the enemy meant for evil and turn it for good.”

After an intermission, Pastor Mike made announcements about this week of prayer, for people to “humble themselves” including prayer for all levels of leadership, and upcoming baptisms at the river — “old patterns” and “new creations.” He also mentioned the encouraging number of worshipers showing up in various modes (hundreds of video views) in these “unprecedented times,” and recently particularly appreciating a few “faces in chairs.”

We were told that a few days ago, after some time in a local coffee shop, he decided to talk about the passage in Matthew that explains one should “give to Caesar what is Caesar’s ...”. (I remember it as “render unto” — not sure if that was from Sunday School growing up or later kitchen table discussions.)

He went on to explain there is secular authority and divine authority.

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Keeping in mind that your relationships with God and people are of the utmost importance, the combination of connecting with “faith-filled” people, reading the word of God, and praying “your way through the day” was presented as a tip to living here and now. Advocating for “countercultural lives” as a way of being different without being difficult, we were reminded we are all a work-in-progress.

Those in attendance, and all of us really, were directed to “respect each other on the way out.”