After having a nice long visit over the phone with a dear friend, I was inspired to listen to the worship service of a local church that has the same name as the college her daughter once attended.

Before switching our call to just audio to save battery power, she showed me the great slabs of rock that she and her husband had put down as a path by their red outbuilding. Something for them and the deer to walk on. Ah yes, rock.

The video of Concordia Lutheran Church in Red Wing for Aug. 23, opened with a big view of white fabric up front, on which there were a couple slashes of bright sunlight that eventually settled into more of a heavenly glow, and colorful quilts covering the altar rail that later in the service received a blessing to help cover those who would be receiving them.

The sermon intrigued me with talk of “office of the keys” and “dabbling” in the original Greek, where “grammar forces us to look away” from one interpretation of the scripture reading. The pastor taught us that the word for rock, “petra” is feminine, like Roberta. So, Peter as the rock doesn’t actually refer to him personally but rather to his confession of faith, which even he didn’t fully understand. People of the time had been expecting “a display of glory and might” other than the crucifixion and resurrection.

Continuing in his “normal cheerful style” pastor declares that understanding Christ as some sort of “cosmic” consciousness” is too vague. “Word and sacrament” are important.

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As for the office of the keys, that’s about the authority of ordained pastors to offer absolution.

Prayer included references to dignity for all people, being “armed with the gospel,” integrity and seeking salvation.

The last tune was very familiar to me but the words were other than the ones I know until the last verse when everybody stood up.