When I drove out to First Lutheran Church past the hospital in New Richmond on Oct. 11, I parked in the big parking lot and stepped out to take a picture. Looking around when I thought I heard a car, a pleasant gentleman said through his far away open car window that he didn’t want to photo bomb my picture. Nice. It was pleasant to have the very brief impromptu conversation with a stranger.

Listening to the online worship (the only option these days) later in the week I enjoyed seeing all the seasonal decorations on display around Pastor Paul at the pulpit.

His invocation included reference to these “transforming days.” He announced that if others wanted to be a lector to contact the office and they would find a place for you. Then you too might be able to say transformative words such as “honorable, just and pure” and perhaps speak of waiting for the fulfillment of plans of old.

Pastor Paul spoke of showing mercy, including by wearing face masks as a way to give and receive care.

We were asked to consider the question “Am I OK?” if I don’t worship and do other things as I once did. He suggested “doing” shouldn’t be too much a part of defining who we are. “Just as I am” can generate a harmonizing and binding holy love.

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He shared that an upper Midwest take on the scripture “many are called, but few are chosen” is ... “many are cold, but few are frozen.” Prayers included clothing and comfort for those in need.

A few family faith formation suggestions for Halloween (hallowed eve), All Saints’ Day and Day of the Dead are posted on their Facebook page. I’ve never done it before, (and it’s not something they mention) but I can imagine if I still lived closer to where my folks are buried going out to that pretty cemetery to visit — maybe have a piece of pumpkin pie with my mom, popcorn with my dad, discuss apple varieties with my aunts. If geese flew over or an owl hooted in the distance or a squirrel scampered past I could follow them for a moment with my thoughts and feelings and perhaps get a glimpse of some sacred insight.

Their activities suggestions include making crowns. That’s new to me, but arranging colorful leaves in a circle might be nice. I’ve never been much of one for carving pumpkins, but perhaps a cross would offer some unique illumination.