A very brief silent video homed in on an empty rock cave manger all the way from outer space. By comparison, the first few melodic notes on the piano at pretty Rush River Lutheran Church located at a rural intersection between River Falls and Ellsworth were all the more reassuring.

Before we heard the ringing of the bells, we heard variations on the tune for “oh come let us adore him.”

Pastor Dave’s conversational tone of voice helped me hear some encouraging words anew, such as “worthily magnify.” And a phrase that never gets old about the acceptability of “the words of my mouth and the meditations of our hearts.” He explained that the fine singing voice heard off-camera wasn’t his (although thanks for the compliments).

The single long-stemmed red rose that was embroidered on his stole kind of looked to me like it was being held by the ceramic communion chalice on the pulpit, which served to further hold my attention.

Pastor Dave talked about “darkness in inner spaces of our lives,” that we are as scripture says, “fearfully and wonderfully made.” He also said, like the proud friend I believe him to be, “That’s just so like God ...” to have created the light first — so it would be there waiting for us. We were encouraged to let the light in versus live as “a narrowly limited portion of self.”

We were told Michelangelo once studied a chunk of stone and declared, “There’s an angel in there” that needs to be let out.

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Pastor suggested we measure things in our lives in terms of thoughts, feelings and kind deeds rather than figures in our bank accounts and the accumulation of things. Here’s a visual: “There’s no U-haul behind the hearse.”

“Turn morning (oh, now I’m not sure if there should be a “u” in there...) into joy” and be blessed with “every spiritual blessing.” Characters in the Bible often didn’t receive blessings offered to them — until they did.

More music had me picking up my phone that I’d propped up on a folded woolen scarf where I had a good view of the waning moon to go stand closer to the sunlight for the words “shine on me,” and “flow river flow.”

At the very end of the video Pastor Dave is seen wearing a mask that matches the blue in the banner cross hanging behind him. Words of the benediction included not being dismissive about going forth doing likewise.