September 3 Sermon by Rev. Dr. Galen Schwarz

September 3 Sermon by Rev. Dr. Galen Schwarz

The Invisible Enemy  –  Acts 16:24-34  –  Ephesians 6:10-20 When our youngest son was a junior in high school he had it in his mind that he just had to go to an Ivy League School.  Well with financial fear and trepidation Susan and I decided that we would go along for the ride and see where it would lead.  So whenever one of the Ivy League schools would send their admission teams into the area, we just had to go.  The only one that I remember was the University of Pennsylvania.   The memory isn’t from its proud place in the academic arena, or from the rich history that this particular university has brought to our culture.  No, it was from the oxymoron that one discovers when one cheers for their sports team. As a Quaker colony those who attended the University that Ben Franklin founded were know as the “Quakers.”  Today they are known as “the Blue and the Red” signifying more the colors of their sport teams’ jerseys than their history.  For after all, it would be really weird to attend a football game between the University of Pennsylvania and say Yale, and here the Yale fans yell out, “Go Bull dogs”.  (That would make the Butler fans jealous.)  But to hear the University of Pennsylvania crowd yell out “Go you Fighting Quakers” well, would be really weird, because Quakers are not known as fighters.  They fit into those religious categories of pacifists as are the Mennonites the church of the Brethren, and the Amish. At least one of those oxymoronic statements has been part of the...
postcards from sabbatical – week 14

postcards from sabbatical – week 14

Dear Faith Friends, I knew when I got back to Indiana I would keep walking through this sabbatical.  I imagined I would hike the parks of our city, county, and state. Instead, I have felt led to walk very close to home.  I am called to the streets of the neighborhood that we have chosen to focus on for Faith’s community engagement.  We plan on working closely with Binford Redevelopment and Growth (BRAG), so we settled on their boundaries for our attention. (Sargent Road on the east, 82nd Street on the north, Dean Road on the west and 56th Street and Fall Creek Road on the south.) In keeping with Faith’s “get out of the parking lot” mentality and the call of Jesus to be out on the road like the good Samaritan, and feeling pumped by the miles I got under my feet in Greece and Colorado,  I put on my courage and started walking the streets of our community looking for blessing. The area begins just three blocks from my home.  The challenges begin quickly.  The sidewalks disappear almost immediately.  This is one of the major concerns that surfaces from community leaders.  It makes walking scary and dangerous.  Not good for school children, the elderly, people trying to get healthy, bicyclists, or anyone not able to commute in a car. I have a choice, though.  And I choose to keep walking.  I want to see and know where our neighbors live and work. I’m not sure how this trek will resolve.  I know it won’t end when the sabbatical is over.  That’s just fine, though.  I always knew that...
postcards from sabbatical – week 13

postcards from sabbatical – week 13

Dear Faith Friends, This past week has felt quite indulgent.  I had a chance, during the sabbatical, to think about what I enjoy doing and would like to spend more time at. I came up with baking. So much of ministry has a non-tangible outcome.  Baking is a chance to be creative, have a product and feed someone! Problem is…just when I have time to bake, I don’t have a congregation to feed.  So, I got creative about that, too. I baked for people in the neighborhood (finally paying them back for their “welcome pies”.)  I baked for people moving into a new home.  I baked for my mother’s nursing staff.  Next up, I’m baking for Faith staff. I’m not a very good baker.  Any success I have in cooking or baking isn’t from skill or technique.  My only talent is that I am good at reading recipes and recommendations.  If you start with the right directions, it’s bound to turn out well. Thanks be to God, that’s true of our lives as Christians, as well as cooks. Blessings for the journey, Charlotte Now God has us where he wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus.  Saving is all God’s idea and Christ’s work….It’s God’s gift from start to finish.  – Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, chapter 2....
postcards from sabbatical – week 12

postcards from sabbatical – week 12

Dear Faith Friends, I am back in Indianapolis for four weeks, before I am back at Faith.  It is filled with a unique kind of anticipation. This week, writing the first draft of our Community Ministry Grant proposal. For several years, Faith has diligently explored and talked with community leaders about the resources and needs they see, to discern how our congregation is to connect with the community.  Just about the time that we were gaining clarity on a vision of our calling and wondering about how to proceed, Center for Congregations announced a matching grant program for congregations ready to explore mutual ministry with their community.  It sounded like a perfect match for us. We’ve learned a lot from the year-long process with Center for Congregations, as well as experiencing some frustration as we have been a bit a head of the curve in planning.  Still, the support and experience they offer, plus the possibility of shared funding has made the extra process worthwhile. To be honest, writing the grant wasn’t that hard.  We’ve have done a lot of hard work already.  Or maybe we have let the Spirit of Jesus Christ do a lot of hard work among us. I come back to Indy with renewed energy and excitement about what we are called to do with and for our neighbors. Blessings for the journey, Charlotte It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for.  Long before we first hear of Christ and got our hopes us, he had his eyes on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of...