While waiting for the service to begin and the organ prelude was being played, a poem for “Pre-Worship Pondering” was shown on the screen of the worship video for St John’s Lutheran Church in Lake City, Nov. 22, 2020. The last phrase was “to learn the angels’ song.”

Pastor Cordes looked rather majestic behind the baptismal font with all the ivory and silver. He sang in a strong, clear, melodious voice the words of all the hymns including those of crowns and the “royal diadem.”

He first talked about taking a step back to online worship only (and printed sermons and worship folders available for mailing), “not out of fear” but out of love and mercy.

Words in the litany included, “This is most certainly true.”

We were encouraged to have an “honest conversation” with God during confession and forgiveness.

The sermon was about the conspicuous materialistic glory of earthly rulers — the Forbidden City, the pyramids, the palace of Versailles — and the need for “a radical shift in our definition of ‘glory.’

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We were taken to task for mocking Christ with our flippant insincerity. No literal crown of thorns is being foisted at the savior by us. But we should know what it is that we do, and try our best to do better. Even so, according to the gospel, we are assured of the glory of grace and forgiveness. Christ endured. He didn’t deny the cross, “he embraced it and he embraces us.”

We were told He will bring to conclusion the “good work” begun in us.

As a tool to help work through grief of these times, memory verses are chosen and recited. Another form of assistance being seriously considered is hiring a school counselor for the first five months of 2021; grant money has been provided, an official vote is required.

There will be a video of the Thanksgiving eve worship service available for viewing Wednesday and indefinitely thereafter.

Pastor concluded with an assurance of welcome to visitors. He said the church is there to help people be redeemed from consequences and offer support from falling into further temptation.

Like their sign said out front — “Social distancing does not apply to God ... “