First Congregational Church, UCC
Wolfeboro, NH
Sunday, May 3, 2020
Special thanks to Abigel Kralik and Ben Beilman, who are our guest musicians this morning on the violin. Abi and Ben are staying at Abi's mother's summer place, in the area. They have studied at The Julliard School of Music. Abi is Patty Mac Hewitt's niece.

"Singularity" by Marie Howe

(I have also put this at the end of the sermon, but the sound quality was not the greatest. I encourage you to watch from this link)

Acts 17: 1-9

1 After Paul and Silas had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews. 2 And Paul went in, as was his custom, and on three sabbath days argued with them from the scriptures, 3 explaining and proving that it was necessary for the Messiah to suffer and to rise from the dead, and saying, "This is the Messiah, Jesus whom I am proclaiming to you." 

4 Some of them were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did a great many of the devout Greeks and not a few of the leading women. 5 But the Jews became jealous, and with the help of some ruffians in the marketplaces they formed a mob and set the city in an uproar. While they were searching for Paul and Silas to bring them out to the assembly, they attacked Jason's house.

 6 When they could not find them, they dragged Jason and some believers before the city authorities, shouting, "These people who have been turning the world upside down have come here also, 7 and Jason has entertained them as guests. They are all acting contrary to the decrees of the emperor, saying that there is another king named Jesus." 8 The people and the city officials were disturbed when they heard this, 9 and after they had taken bail from Jason and the others, they let them go.

1 Thessalonians 2: 1-4

2 As you yourselves know, brothers and sisters, our visit with you wasn’t a waste of time. 2 On the contrary, we had the courage through God to speak God’s good news in spite of a lot of opposition, although we had already suffered and were publicly insulted in Philippi, as you know. 3 Our appeal isn’t based on false information, the wrong motives, or deception. 4 Rather, we have been examined and approved by God to be trusted with the good news, and that’s exactly how we speak. We aren’t trying to please people, but we are trying to please God, who continues to examine our hearts.
"Quarantine Slump Prayer"
by Jemma Allen

This is a prayer
from the day when it feels impossible
to stand in another social-distanced queue.

This is a prayer from glasses-fogged
face-mask wearing weariness.

This is a prayer
for missing friends
and loved ones
and longing for hugs
and shared laughter
where you don’t have to worry
about your outbreath
and how far the droplets might travel
if the laughter is a real roar.

This is a prayer
for parents parenting
and homeschooling
and working
and pandemic-ing,
all at once,
and keeping on going.

This is prayer that longs for
normality –
not the new normal,
but the old careless normal
of standing close to strangers
while your dogs play for a moment or two.

This is a prayer
of having to tolerate uncertainty,
of not being able to know
when it will be different
or what kind of different
the next bit will be.

This is a prayer
of grief upon grief,
all these ordinary losses
and the tragic ones
as a virus runs rampant
and people die.

This is a prayer that asks
for steadiness
in the midst of feeling at sea;
for rest
for the weariness;
for peace
for the anxieties;
for friendship
for the lonely;
for rescue
for the afflicted;
for consolation
for the grieving.

It is a prayer in need of grace.
It is a prayer in need of hope.
It is a prayer in need of the love
that is stronger than death.

Hear our prayer,
O God:
you who are steady,
you who are gracious,
you who are merciful.
Hear our prayer and
meet us in our need.
Please remember to send in your offering, as you are able.
We are still checking mail at the post office, and our counters are still making deposits. Many of our expenses continue.