August 20, 2017 Sermon by Rev. Dr. Galen Schwarz

August 20, 2017 Sermon by Rev. Dr. Galen Schwarz

The Ingroup  –  Ephesians 2:11-22 A couple of years ago I had to make one of those dreaded calls to our medical insurance provider to find out if a certain medical procedure was covered.  I don’t know about you, but I always have some resistance to those kinds of calls.  They always start out with the warning that says that they may be tape recording the call for training purposes.  That alerts me because I know that they are really trying to tape what the caller is saying.   So I start right away to think about exactly what I am going to say and how I am going to say it, to make sure that it is as friendly as possible, but still communicates what I really want to know. But this time the “friendly warming message” ended and the customer service agent answered and identified herself, rather than moving into questions that would identify who I was,  the first things she said was, “I see you are from Indianapolis”, reading the caller ID, “How about those Colts. I think Andrew Luck is so cute!” Talk about knocking you off balance! We shared a few pleasantries about our hometown team and then she mentioned how much she admired our entire organization, and how difficult it was to be a Colts fans since the answering office of my insurance company was in Pittsburgh.  And we know what team plays there. By the time the conversation was over I had discovered what I needed to know and had a nice chat with a stranger who had become somewhat of a friend. ...
Pastor Schwarz Response to Charlottesville, VA

Pastor Schwarz Response to Charlottesville, VA

The events in Charlottesville, Virginia a week ago serve to illustrate that the Church of Jesus Christ has a long way to go in proclaiming the justice and love of our Lord.  Once again we have seen the ugly head of hatred and racism raise about the words and actions of welcome and inclusion. Let it be said clearly that slavery was and is a sin that robs a person of the dignity and self-worth that God bestowed on all of creation.  Let us also as people of faith admit that even the Church failed to recognize this reality in the past, and used the message of love and reconciliation to hold other prisoners. But white-Supremacy, anti-Semitism, and neo-Nazism have no place in our society.  They insult the people with whom we share God’s creation and those who fought and died to defend the equality of humanity. Two of the highly valued principles of our country are the freedom of speech and the right to assemble, but there are limits to both.  And while one must be careful in applying universal condemnations, in this case, it can be said that “Just because it is legal that does not make it right.”  And what was said in Charlottesville was not only wrong but it was also evil. At the 222nd General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in 2016, the Belhar Confession was adopted as a document to add to our Book of Confessions.  The Belhar Confession comes out of the experience of Apartheid in South Africa and serves as a Call to Christians to practice Unity, Justice, and Reconciliation.  Part...
August 6 Sermon by Rev. Dr. Galen Schwarz

August 6 Sermon by Rev. Dr. Galen Schwarz

Mourning to Dance Psalm 30   For about five years back in the mid two thousands I strummed my guitar as part of the praise band at my last church.  We certainly were not as good at the Dawn Band as none of us were professional musician.  We were what I called “Basement Bangers”: just a bunch of guys who liked to play and sing, all except for Jeff who was a very gifted classical guitarist who could make your heart sing when he picked the string.  Never the less we could hold our own in the praise music area. Jeff’s wife was the unofficial manager of our little group.  She and I used to joke that when I retired we were going to write a book titled:”Why can’t Presbyterians sing and clap at the same time?”   You need to know of course that both she and I grew up in a Presbyterian tradition that was much different from what it is today.  The thought of clapping during music or dancing in joy was a sin right up there with snoring in church. In our upbringing, whatever experiences of joy and elation one might have during a worship service were to be enjoyed rather cerebrally.  This was a time before the birth of Christian music, as we know it today.  What was considered appropriate as church music then was composed by the classic composers like Beethoven or Bach. My clergy-collar-wearing father and my musically-trained-in-Paris-church organist mother would have come unglued if I had raised myself from the pew and started to clap during a song, let alone shout out...
3b Class for 55 and older

3b Class for 55 and older

3B Brain Body & Belief   Exercise is really for the brain, not the body. It affects mood, vitality, alertness and feelings of well-being.  – John J. Ratey, MD, Harvard Medical School Joins us on Wednesday mornings at 10:00 AM in the Narthex at...
July 30 Sermon by Rev. Dr. Galen Schwarz

July 30 Sermon by Rev. Dr. Galen Schwarz

My Light and My Salvation Psalm 27 Sunday July 30, 2017 One of the great profound insights of the 27th Psalm is that so much of our faith can be summarized by the first verse: “The Lord is my light and my Salvation, of whom shall I fear.” Fear appears three times in the opening verses: one in each of the first three verses.  I am not sure if it is an accurate saying or not, but it seems to me that fear and love are the two great themes of the Bible that can be summed up in the words of John from his first letter: “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.”  In fact fear seems to be mentioned so frequently in the Bible that I decided to check out a list of things that people are afraid of, and boy was that ever a shocker. Would you be surprised to learn that Arachnophobia or the fear of spiders tops the list of fears? Or that Cynophobia, the fear of dogs comes in 5th? Or that Trypophobia, the fear of holes ranks above the fear of death? Or that the fear of death out polled the fear of public speaking by only one? One summer night during a severe thunderstorm a mother was tucking her small son into bed. She was about to turn the light off when he asked in a trembling voice, “Mommy, will you stay with me all night?” Smiling, the mother gave him a warm, reassuring hug and said tenderly, “I can’t dear. I have to sleep in Daddy’s room.” A long silence followed. At last it...