One steeple led to another and soon I was intrigued by the white church with a bright green sign on the corner of a busy street.

Living Vine Church in Hudson presented a stunning display of colorful lights on white walls and organ pipes at the beginning of their worship service video for Jan. 31, 2021. The pretty keyboard music was soon joined by other praise band instruments so robust dancing in the aisles would’ve seemed appropriate. I didn’t see that, but I did hear a little applause and a hoot. There was also a soothing lineup of birch tree cuttings setting upright on the altar table.

Pastor John explained how they are now “trying to move forward with the growth of our church,” with Zoom membership classes and some in-person classes in the dining hall, plus a kids art contest.

In keeping with a sermon series on thinking clearly, pastor commented on “Christianity’s enduring perplexity with society,” giving some examples of “here and now” and “there and then.”

I appreciated his story about “geographical Christianity” where his Wisconsinite beer drinking ways were frowned upon by the tobacco smoking church goers in the Carolinas.

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He repeated a phrase I recall being almost a mantra of one of the pastors with whom I worked: Christians are to be “in the world, but not of the world” — adding another prepositional phrase from scripture, “sent into the world.” He explained followers of Christ are to be “salt and light.” I’d heard references to salt before, but understood it better when he said, “Salt hinders decay.”

Pastor is a huge fan of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., acknowledging that the work he started is “far from done.” Illuminating the verse of “turn the other cheek” to mean don’t react to humiliation — explaining a slap was a gesture delivered more as a taunt than a genuine threat. It’s honorable to resist acting in anger.

He spoke of feeding the hungry, complete with a personal story of a pan that was frequently delivered to a neighbor’s door (presumably some actual salt was included).

Reminding the congregation that no one is better than anyone else, he suggested those listening be further empowered by the holy spirit for their own unique roles in this world.