The piano prelude concluded and we were shown an image of an illuminated cross towering high up on a brick wall above lit candles, bouquets of green fronds, polished wood and expansive red carpeting.

After a couple words of greeting, the camera moves in closer to one of the elders removing his mask at the lectern. We hear about upcoming leadership elections for vacancies on the board of elders to consult with the pastor on matters of the church. We also learn that October is pastor appreciation month. This year on “the shelf of hats,” along with being the provider of sermons and sacraments (suspended during this time of mask protocol), as well as comforter, supervisor and arbitrator, are hats for tech guy and “calculator of space.”

Pastor Ryan spoke on the worship video for Oct. 18, 2020, at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church in New Richmond about the “divine fence of protection” prayerfully surrounding the church and other civic institutions. He preached on salvation history in the Old Testament — about “presence, power and providence.”

There were some odd characters and intriguing events, including a “utility infielder” and a talking donkey, as pastor explained the “strange and wonderful” ways God keeps promises.

We were told sometimes our role is to “simply be still.” (Although I particularly appreciate in general the lack of racket, I’m thinking maybe this stillness is more one of a calm nature than complete silence.)

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Referring to the reading as a “devastation text,” he talks about exile where the people, “hung their harps in the trees and wept in sorrow.” And yet, false kings were overturned, all in good time.

Hope, pastor said, looks like “certainty out of fragility.”

We’re shown a colorful work of art illustrating Christ with a raised hand and a banner as victor over the grave.

Prayers included for the miracles of modern medicine.

Home sanctuaries were praised where we are “called by name” to rejoice in the “splendor of holiness.”