The black and white sign with the picture of a church being live-streamed Sunday, Oct. 18, in front of Christ Lutheran Church in Somerset, Wis., looked familiar from when I’d driven over there the week before. The man in the black stocking cap standing behind it was new.

Pastor Doug spoke audibly through his matching mask. For a solo (on a few minutes of video separate from the sermon, it so happens) the small screen got carried inside the church to near a microphone — I imagine it sounded great over the car radios. The pastor said he was going to listen by the door. I got a big grin out of “Come with us,” during the transport and getting settled on a table — my sense of cheer lingered during “to my listening ears...”

During the responsive reading of the psalm, a bird chimed in on “sing to the lord.” Later streams of sunshine started to form sort of a mosaic.

The sermon was about politics and power structures Jesus had to deal with in his lifetime. Asked a trick question by two groups that didn’t get along, he was able to “amaze” (in a good way) both sides with his answer. Pastor pointed out that’s very unlike questions that have been asked and gone unanswered during recent political debates and judicial hearings.

Taxes in Jesus’s time were also burdensome, particularly on the average citizen. But when asked a loaded question about allegiances secular and sacred, Jesus saw it as a teaching moment. He asked to be shown a coin and noted the inscriptions thereon. He saw the value in the things taxes paid for such as roads and schools that require work and planning. Therefore, the enduring dictum: Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.

Newsletter signup for email alerts

Or as pastor put it, “Live with the emperor, but live for God.”

Looking at some of their posts online, for the congregation’s future plans indoors, there will be 6-foot markers and taped-off pews, but no plexiglass or designated rules enforcer.

Also, in late September the congregation gathered 784 pairs of shoes for Shoe Away Hunger — staying aware of the changing weather.