July 23 Sermon by Rev. Dr. Galen Schwarz

July 23 Sermon by Rev. Dr. Galen Schwarz

The Key to Patience Psalm 13 Sunday July 23, 2017 When I was in seminary I used to read a lot of books that I called, “Waiting books”.  A waiting book was a book that I could pick up and put down at a moment’s notice because I was doing a lot of waiting.  In my first two years as a student in New York City, I would have to ride the subway 45 minutes to an hour to get to my field education position or to my job as a Coffee House Coordinator.  There was a lot of waiting to do in those commutes.  One had to wait for the subway to come. One had to wait to see if you could find a seat or wait longer if you had bad timing on your transfer. Then you had to wait out the actual commute itself. I usually liked small paperback books that I could slip in my back pocket. They were the best because I didn’t have to worry about leaving them on the seat of the subway car or the commuter train. Back then I came across an author by the name of John Jakes who became a prolific writer.  But in the 70’s he wrote stories of the American Frontier and the Civil War.  What made his books of that time so convenient as a “Waiting book” was that each chapter had a new beginning and the action came to a resolution by the end of that chapter.  And even better each chapter took 15 to 20 minutes to read.  So they were perfect waiting...
July 16 Sermon by Rev. Dr. Galen Schwarz

July 16 Sermon by Rev. Dr. Galen Schwarz

What has happened to Wonder? Psalm 8 As I began this week to write this sermon, all I could think of was the old Learner and Loewe’s song from Camelot: I wonder what the king is doing tonight? What merriment is the king pursuing tonight? The candles at the court, they never burned as bright. I wonder what the king is up to tonight? It’s a delightful little song sung by a fully human king who is afraid of marriage; especially to a woman he does not know.  And as he begins a new chapter in his life with a new relationship on the horizon, it seems to be somewhat of a good place to begin our look at the 8th Psalm, for at the core of this psalm is the foundation of the relationship between the people of Israel and their God. And that particular recollection made me ponder or “wonder” about the true meaning of that word “Wonder”. There really are some complexities to this word for the three meanings take us in slightly different directions.  Wonder is defined as “to speculate or be curious about something”; “to doubt something”, or “to be filled with admiration, amazement or awe”.  All three definitions, though pulling us sometimes in different directions, are part of what the psalmist is struggling with as he or she recites this psalm of great praise. Let me take you back to a time long ago when humanity had far less information to comprehend, and what was packed into their brains was necessary for survival.  There really wasn’t much time to ponder or wonder.  It...
July 9 Sermon by Rev. Dr. Galen Schwarz

July 9 Sermon by Rev. Dr. Galen Schwarz

Are You Comfortable in your Skin? Philippians 4:2-20 A year ago or so Shaquille O’Neal, the well know and accomplished basketball player first for the Orland Magic and finally for the Boston Celtics, was featured in an advertisement for Dial soap where he told the story of his battle with stuttering as a child.  He told of his embarrassment, his struggle to avoid being called upon by his teacher in class and the strategies that he used to avoid that embarrassment. The pitch was to get men to feel comfortable using a product what was formally considered a female product as it ran during the broadcast of the Super Bowl.  It ended with the basketball star saying, “I am Shaquille O’Neal and I am comfortable in my skin.”    Interestingly enough the title of that commercial was called “The Journey to Contentment.” Contentment: that is something that all of us long for in most, if not all, of the areas of life.  The problem is that we don’t really know how to get it.  When one looks at the literature of contentment, one always finds a financial or material element that society places with it.  Contentment is found in more money society says. A comedian was once asked what it meant to be content and she said, “An extra 50K a year.”  This was a good example because it shows how contentment based on finances is always just beyond our reach.  And I suppose that we could use that same argument in a great many areas of life to describe what contentment is:  It just seems to always be beyond...
July 2 Sermon by Rev. Dr. Galen Schwarz

July 2 Sermon by Rev. Dr. Galen Schwarz

A Perfect Storm Acts 27 In September 1991, the sword fishing boat, The Andrea Gail, returns to port in Gloucester, Massachusetts, with a poor catch. Desperate for money, Billy Tyne (The Captain), convinces the crew to join him for one more late season fishing expedition. They head out past their usual fishing grounds, leaving a developing thunderstorm, behind them. Initially unsuccessful, they head to the Flemish Cap, where their luck improves. At the height of their fishing the ice machine breaks; the only way to preserve their catch is to hurry back to shore. After debating whether to sail through the building storm or to wait it out, the crew decide to risk the storm. However, between the Andrea Gail and Gloucester is a confluence of 2 powerful weather fronts and a hurricane, which the crew of Andrea Gail underestimate. After repeated warnings from other ships, the Andrea Gail loses her antenna, forcing a fellow ship to call in a Mayday. An Air National Guard rescue helicopter responds, but after failing to perform a midair refuel, the helicopter crew ditch the aircraft before it crashes, and all but one of the crew members are rescued by a Coast Guard Vessel, The Tamaroa. The Andrea Gail endures various problems; with 40-foot/12 meter waves crashing on to the deck, a broken stabilizer ramming the side of the ship, and two men are thrown overboard. The crew decides to turn around to avoid further damage by the storm. After doing so, the vessel encounters an enormous rogue wave. After attempting and failing to ride over the wave, the stricken fishing vessel capsizes...
June 25 Sermon by Rev. Dr. Galen Schwarz

June 25 Sermon by Rev. Dr. Galen Schwarz

What makes the Foolish Wise? 1 Corinthians 1:18-2:5 I don’t know about you, but over the spring I became somewhat fascinated with all that is going on in Washington D.C.  We seem to be a new era of both public political portrayal and news coverage.  As I watched different news anchors pry information out of our politicians, I became aware of an interesting change in the way that they respond to each other.  It goes something like this:  News anchor A asks politician B a question.  Then politician B reframes the questions and answer a question that was not asked.  That particular technique in debate is called of course “REFRAMING” like reframing a picture by placing the piece of art in a completely different frame so that it appears different than it did before and it falls into the category of Logical fallacies. I sit there as I watch these debates shouting at my television as if it could hear me saying, “Just answer the question”.  Then they go on to miraculously find a way to mention all of the pertinent legislature that they have written, passed or voted on.  Then I end up thinking “OK you are smart, you got elected, you know how to run a campaign, but if you can’t answer the question you look rather foolish.  And the last thing that we want are foolish leaders.  But is it really?  Or do we need to stretch our definition and understanding of those two words, to find that in the world of Faith and of Paul, they may have completely different definitions. Sometimes the wisest among...