Given my enjoyment of the Holden Evening Prayer music during Lent, it only made sense that I check to see if they were using it at Holden Lutheran Church near Kenyon.

I did not find that online, but I did enjoy Pastor Heather’s 10-minute sermon on parables of lost things. She told a story about her grandparents’ three dogs with their unique personalities.

She summed up some things basic to her faith: God never stops looking and waiting, and never gives up on you; God runs to you, searching, finding and then rejoices in celebration with you.

Up the road a piece, Reverend Andrew at Urland Lutheran Church is delivering their musical rendition of the familiar little black and white booklet. Even through her mask, the soprano of the duet had such a strong voice I could almost imagine her hitting a high note and shattering a glass with sparkling bits flying in all directions. I particularly enjoyed her soft echo during those stanzas of the Psalm.

It took me a moment to realize that what I was looking at on the wall were two crosses with a large circular structure hanging from each, representing a crown of thorns, I believe. The crosses were somewhat askew — at a deliberate angle — but hanging perfectly parallel to each other on either side of the beautiful stained glass of Jesus praying. The red of Jesus’ cloak matches the cushion at the communion rail. The tall candelabras and other candles were lit. The way the organ is situated in the corner with the low ceiling, wooden columns and some drapery almost gave the impression of a royal canopy.

I can just about imagine the prodigal son standing there in the robe that he is bestowed, with the ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.

Reverend spoke from the point of view of an eldest sibling. He could imagine the “pathetic” younger son making “lame excuses.” He tried to explain how throwing the party for the younger son wasn’t taking anything away from him. “.God isn’t a zero-sum god.” Even though he was the one who had to do extra work and worry about the business’ spreadsheets, he too was invited to a party. It was up to him whether to attend or not. There was no need for “FOMO — fear of missing out.”

Considering a more relevant fear for missing out, collections from the mid-week Lenten services goes to support the backpack feeding program at local schools.

During the rest of the music, there was more of a deliberate observance of an intentional pause than I generally experience. It was just enough of a difference to have me more clearly catch my breath and take note of a desire to go on.

Kate Josephson grew up in rural southwestern Minnesota — going to a small town church every Sunday. She also worked as a church secretary part time in Red Wing for seven years and continues to seek out religious experiences wherever she goes.