After fumbling around with various websites, devices and passwords, I settled on watching the video of a church I used to attend frequently.

I like to sit in the balcony at First United Methodist Church in Red Wing. A few people have even greeted me by name there in that smaller space. (I look forward to one day greeting a woman there by name, now that I think I finally remembered it – it rhymes with win.) One of the things I like about it is the proximity to some pretty stained glass. I decided to arrange some colored glass of my own instead of heading out into the cold. Part of the sermon, partially as a recap from last week, was about how being a “balcony person“ is a good thing. In the metaphor, you’re more likely to be uplifted and encouraging from that vantage point.

Down on the main floor, Pastor Linda, (who’s new since I’ve last been there) was sporting a Twins top — along with at least one other person, “twins.” She encouraged those in attendance to cheer for their teams — Super Bowl and otherwise. The church’s Creative Connections with their recent project about letting go and hanging on, and the upcoming study of a book by someone who’s rubbed elbows with royalty, each got a shoutout, as well as the team that put safeguards in place for gathering in-person as the pandemic continues. (Some older members have now gotten vaccination shots.)

The Lord’s Prayer opened with “Holy one,” a reading began “Open unto me,” and a harmonious duet sang of “Over me.”

But the message was all about the “we” of teams. Commenting on getting used to pre-recorded fan cheers, and in-the-moment shouts at the TV loud enough to scare a cat, Pastor Linda encouraged us to “cheer for each other and be transformed in the process.” They have a saying, “Each one teach one.” Whether it’s about being on the ball or getting past a wall it can all build character and trust to pursue a common purpose worth branding with an authentic self that looks more like God.

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An empty gold frame was a visual reminder for “reframing,” and stones on the altar symbolized not something to cause stumbling, rather something upon which to build.