Sermons by Reverend Gary Kowalski

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A Code to Live By: by Reverend Gary Kowalski
January 6th, 2013

 At Haverford College, they’re called the Quaker Bouncers. Undergraduates Jeff, Phil and Chris study Math, Philosophy and History at the Friends founded school. But on weekends, they cruise the parties.



test: by Reverend Gary Kowalski
February 28th, 2011




The Poetics of Ministry: by Reverend Gary Kowalski
April 11th, 2010



The Tao of Easter: by Reverend Gary Kowalski
April 4th, 2010



Let's Dream Together: by Reverend Gary Kowalski
March 21st, 2010

Hitch your wagon to a star‖ was the advice of the illustrious Ralph Waldo Emerson. In his great essay ―Self-Reliance,‖ the sage of Concord encouraged generations of Americans to defy convention, to chart their own destiny, to resist the good models and put more faith in their own inspiration more than in the creeds or catechisms of ancient authorities.



Love Birds "A Revolutionary Valentine": by Reverend Gary Kowalski
February 14th, 2010



A Faith for Our Time: by Reverend Gary Kowalski
January 31st, 2010

It’s said that faculty politics are so fiercely combative because so little is at stake. But in some instances, a great deal can hinge on the appointment of a particular professor to a particular chair at a particular university.



Re-Segregating America?: by Reverend Gary Kowalski
January 17th, 2010

It’s been said that Martin marched because Rosa sat, and that Barack ran because Martin marched.



Dream Time: by Reverend Gary Kowalski
January 3rd, 2010

It’s been said jokingly that if you took all the people who sleep in church and laid them down end-to-end, they’d all be a lot more comfortable.



Sex, Sin and the Birth of Jesus: by Reverend Gary Kowalski
December 20th, 2009

The only Vermonter to ever attain the White House, Calvin Coolidge was known as a man of few words.



Loaves and Fishes : by Reverend Gary Kowalski
November 22nd, 2009

Once upon a time a man had a dream that he had a chance to visit both heaven and hell.



The Power of Connection: by Reverend Gary Kowalski
November 15th, 2009

A cartoon strip called "Hagar the Horrible" depicts Hagar standing astern his Viking boat, which sits dead in the water, drifting aimlessly, with the crew in disarray.



Pillars and Windows: by Reverend Gary Kowalski
October 18th, 2009

Great works of art are often anonymous. The names of the masons and craftsmen who erected the magnificent cathedrals of the Middle Ages remain unknown to history.



The Ghost in the Machine: by Reverend Gary Kowalski
October 11th, 2009

Several years ago there was a movie called "O God!" that featured George Burns in the title role of Our Heavenly Father. One of the actor’s persistent problems is convincing the people he meets that he really is God Almighty, since few people seem to picture the Supreme Being as a balding, squinty-eyed, cigar chewing old man.



At Home in the Cosmos: by Reverend Gary Kowalski
September 20th, 2009

Probably since the dawn of time, individuals have been looking up at the starry firmament, the luminous moon, the bright beacon of the planets, the immense orb of space, and pausing to ask themselves, "I wonder what’s on TV tonight?" But sometimes—when nothing’s on--more cosmic questions pass through our minds, as well.


Not Very Good Wizards: by Reverend Gary Kowalski
September 13th, 2009

The Wizard of Oz is a forever favorite that’s been revisited and revised again and again. The story keeps changing faces, from Diana Ross as Dorothy and Michael Jackson as Scarecrow in the Wiz to the Tony award winning Wicked which explores things from the witches’ point of view. The tale keeps getting repeated, as though we can’t quite put it down.


Church Shopping: A Consumer's Guide: by Reverend Gary Kowalski
August 2nd, 2009

Maybe it’s true that every religion has it’s favorite comic strip. Evangelicals and fundamentalists like The Family Circle and B.C., for instance. Most of us probably prefer Doonesbury, whose creator, Gary Trudeau, based his imaginary character the Reverend Scott Sloan on the real life figure of Scotty McLennan, his former roommate from undergraduate days at Yale who’s now an ordained Unitarian Universalist minister.


A Sense of Wonder: by Reverend Gary Kowalski
May 31st, 2009

I want to thank Dean Corrigan, a member of our congregation who last week sent me a tribute he’d written for his favorite teacher, Mary Finnegan. He’d been in her classroom many years before in the little town of Gorham,


Mother's Day Meditation: by Reverend Gary Kowalski
May 10th, 2009

I went to the dances at Chandlerville,
And played snap-out at Winchester.
One time we changed partners,
Driving home in the moonlight of middle June,
And then I found Davis.


Our Brother's Keeper?: by Reverend Gary Kowalski
May 3rd, 2009

“Am I my brother’s keeper?” The question is as old as the Bible, and the answer, at least in Jewish and Christian tradition, is clear that we do have obligations to each other.


To April's Breeze Unfurled: by Reverend Gary Kowalski
April 19th, 2009

It all started on this day, before the crack of dawn. Eight hundred British soldiers under the command of General Thomas Gage had been tramping through the night, ordered to capture the stores of gunpowder and muskets that the Americans had mustered in Concord, where their Provincial Congress had been meeting.


Saving Paradise: by Reverend Gary Kowalski
April 12th, 2009

I’m not sure how Saint Peter would feel about having a small river in Arizona named after him. San Pedro, after all, is traditionally the keeper of the keys, the guardian of the Pearly Gates, and the subject of a hundred jokes about who’s going to heaven, like the one about the three stupid guys who die and find themselves at the entrance of Paradise.


To Thine Own Self: by Reverend Gary Kowalski
March 9th, 2009

What’s the difference between an original and a counterfeit? Between authenticity and imposture? How do you differentiate a cheap knock-off from the real thing? Sometimes the telltale signs are so slight that even experts have trouble telling them apart.


Questions You Might Ask: by Reverend Gary Kowalski
February 22nd, 2009

Who are you? And where do you come from? Those are questions I might ask newcomers or visitors to the congregation or folks I’m just meeting for the first time.


Jesus for the Non-Religious: by Reverend Gary Kowalski
December 21st, 2008

Fifteen miles from Orlando, Florida, you'll find the Holy Land Experience, an evangelical theme park that promises to take you back two thousand years in time to let you walk the streets of old Jerusalem and experience the ministry of Jesus.


Little Acorns, Mighty Oaks: by Reverend Gary Kowalski
November 23rd, 2008

This is a good year for acorns. According to the Boston Globe, backyards across New England are bursting with a bumper crop. I've learned that, just like people, oak trees have fat years and lean years.


Reverence for Life: by Reverend Gary Kowalski
November 11th, 2008

There are some figures who belong not to any one country or culture but to the world at large.


The Rule of Law and the Blessing of Liberty: by Reverend Gary Kowalski
October 19th, 2008

What separates the jungle from civilized society is that, while one rests on the law of force, the other is founded on the force of law.


The Bliss of Compassion: by Reverend Gary Kowalski
October 5th, 2008

In the beginning, the old stories say, when the heavens and the earth were in formation, back at the very start of time, a great darkness lay upon the face of the deep, and a mighty wind moved across the emptiness.


Family Matters: by Reverend Gary Kowalski
September 28th, 2008

Sometimes it seems like parenting is a long goodbye. This strange little creature arrives into your life, and before you know it or have a chance to get acquainted, separation begins. The umbilical cord is cut.


Spiritual Intelligence: by Reverend Gary Kowalski
September 14th, 2008

There are many ways to be intelligent. Some excel musically. Often the very same people show an aptitude for math. Artistic creativity and imagistic thinking flow out of the right hemisphere of the brain, while highly verbal individuals depend more on their left hemisphere.


Last Lectures, New Beginnings: by Reverend Gary Kowalski
September 7th, 2008

Ministers often ponder the question, “What would I say to my congregation, if this were my very last sermon?”


The Question Box: by Reverend Gary Kowalski
June 1st, 2008

One of my favorite books in the Bible is also one of the shortest The book of Ruth is a little tale of loyalty and grief and the friendship of women. And like all happy tales it ends in a wedding.


A Charge to Keep: by Reverend Gary Kowalski
April 27th, 2008

Some of you might be interested to learn that George Bush has a favorite painting. The artwork depicts a cowboy, bandanna around his neck and hair blowing in the wind, racing up a rocky ravine atop his galloping steed.


Turning Points and Tipping Points: by Reverend Gary Kowalski
April 6th, 2008

Little things can make a big difference. A smile or frown, a word of encouragement or a malicious remark can have consequences much larger than you might imagine.


Metamorphoses: by Reverend Gary Kowalski
March 23rd, 2008

It takes a leap of faith to celebrate Easter in Vermont, particularly in the month of March.


Home Economics: by Reverend Gary Kowalski
March 16th, 2008

Just as there are comfort foods that remind us of childhood—my own special favorites are spaghetti and grilled cheese sandwiches—there are certain comfort words in the English language, words that induce a sense of peace, safety, nurturance and satisfaction.


Care of the Soul: by Reverend Gary Kowalski
February 17th, 2008

In the middle of the Montgomery bus boycott, one of the protesters (it may have been Rosa Parks) was asked how she felt about walking to work each day, instead of taking the segregated city transport.


The Moral Arm of the Universe: by Reverend Gary Kowalski
January 8th, 2008

Martin Luther King Jr. was a magnificent orator. But he's become almost too closely associated with the "I Have A Dream" speech that he delivered on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.


Einstein's God: by Reverend Gary Kowalski
January 6th, 2008

Albert Einstein’s name has become synonymous with braininess. With his swarm of frizzy, uncombed hair and puppy-dog, twinkling eyes, his face is instantly recognizable, even by the ninety-nine percent of the planet who have no clue about what his theories mean.


A Dickens of a Christmas: by Reverend Gary Kowalski
December 23rd, 2007

Probably no one has done more to burnish the glow that surrounds Christmas than the author Charles Dickens.


The Happiness of pursuit: by Reverend Gary Kowalski
December 9th, 2007

When Thomas Jefferson sat down to write the Declaration of Independence, he probably couldn’t have foreseen where his words would lead. And of all the Declaration’s promises, the pursuit of happiness may be closest to the core of the American Dream.


A Lover's Quarrel with the World: by Reverend Gary Kowalski
November 11th, 2007

Near the end of his life, Robert Frost said that his only ambition had been “to write a few little poems it’d be hard to get rid of.” And it’s hard to think of any poet whose lines are harder to dislodge from people’s minds.


Sex and Violence: by Reverend Gary Kowalski
October 7th, 2007

On a beautiful, sunlight morning like this one, it’s hard to imagine the darkness that lurks in the human heart. For it was exactly one year ago, in the early morning hours of October 7, that Michelle Gardner-Quinn was walking home to her dormitory at the University of Vermont after a night out with friends.


Songs Of Freedom: by Reverend Gary Kowalski
September 30th, 2007

Every American knows the song Yankee Doodle Dandy. Grown ups know it. Kids know it. And probably most people know a little of the story.


The Power of Dreams: by Reverend Gary Kowalski
September 16th, 2007

September means back to school. No ritual is more familiar in this land of free and universal public education.


The Children are Well!: by Reverend Gary Kowalski
September 9th, 2007

Children widen the circle of our being in ways that are limitless. Every baby that’s born connects us to our history, our own mothers and fathers, grandparents and unknown forbears who brought new life to the world in each successive generation.


Community Matters: by Reverend Gary Kowalski
June 3rd, 2007

In his State of the Union Address on January 6, 1941, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt delivered a speech designed to rally Americans in defense of liberty, which was desperately threatened at that time.


The Lion and the Lamb: by Reverend Gary Kowalski
May 6th, 2007

On the wall of my minister’s study, there is an old print titled “Noah’s Ark” that shows the animals boarding a big house boat.


Singers of Life: by Reverend Gary Kowalski
April 8th, 2007

On this day, April 8, fourteen years ago, a great American passed out of life and into history. Marian Anderson was arguably the greatest contralto of the twentieth century, but it was her role in the struggle for civil rights as much as her extraordinary voice that imprinted her on the world’s imagination.


Flower Power: by Reverend Gary Kowalski
April 8th, 2007

When I think of power, strength, sheer physical force, I think of an avalanche.


The Power of the Rev: by Reverend Gary Kowalski
April 1st, 2007

One of the occupational hazards of ministry is being accosted by anonymous strangers who either want you to be their confidante or want to challenge your knowledge of Bible verses.


The Faith That Chooses Us: by Reverend Gary Kowalski
March 25th, 2007

Choice is an important value for Unitarian Universalists. One might say it’s almost a sacred precept.


The Tragedy of the Commons?: by Reverend Gary Kowalski
March 18th, 2007

Imagine you were challenged to design a place of worship for the modern world. It should acknowledge the discoveries of science and reflect the human place in nature.


Transcendental Wild Oats: by Reverend Gary Kowalski
March 11th, 2007

Loveable but exasperating. Reverential yet ridiculous. Tender father and neglectful parent. An old fashioned patriarch always dependent on women. Extravagant dreamer living in the most pinched circumstances: Bronson Alcott was a study in contradictions.


Meet Joseph Campbell: by Reverend Gary Kowalski
January 7th, 2007

For almost four decades, Joseph Campbell taught comparative mythology at Sarah Lawrence College, authoring a series of books on the archetypes that shape the human mind and our relation to the cosmos, titles like The Masks of God and The Hero With A Thousand Faces.


Hanukkah and Hope: by Reverend Gary Kowalski
December 17th, 2006

The delicate is not always the most durable. Living things are notoriously perishable.


A Post-Human future?: by Reverend Gary Kowalski
December 3rd, 2006

Imagine that you had power .... unprecedented, life-altering power to shape the course of human evolution. Imagine you could forever rid the world of disability and disease.


The Bread of Life : by Reverend Gary Kowalski
November 19th, 2006

Gratitude can sometimes be so intense you can almost taste it. It demands physical expression, so that we have to jump for joy, or dance or pray, or enjoy a long, tight embrace with someone we love.


What would Jesus eat?: by Reverend Gary Kowalski
November 5th, 2006

Next time you’re browsing through the fridge searching for a snack, or waiting for your entree at your favorite restaurant, here’s something you might ponder: how many of the stories and parables of the New Testament deal with food? You can hardly turn a page without encountering some culinary event.


Pale Blue Dot : by Reverend Gary Kowalski
October 22nd, 2006

Probably the most famous photograph of the last fifty years is the one snapped by Apollo 17. You know the one I mean. Most of the coast of Africa is visible along with the Arabian peninsula.


Coming Out: Generation to Generation: by Reverend Gary Kowalski
October 9th, 2006

Imagine that you’re a parent. Your teenage son suggests that he needs to talk. That’s odd.


Mental Illness and Spiritual Health: by Reverend Gary Kowalski
October 1st, 2006

Community is hard to define but I know it when I see it. In a real community, people are more important than possessions. History is tangible, like an old apple tree that’s weathered storms but still sends out shoots each spring. Celebrations are shared.


America and the Religion of Fear: by Reverend Gary Kowalski
September 16th, 2006

Unlike yesterday or tomorrow, the United States Constitution is on display this Sunday. Just once a year, the whole thing is made public, and if you were in Washington, D.C. you could see it this afternoon.


Magic, Muggles and Beating the Boggarts: by Reverend Gary Kowalski
September 6th, 2006

Why is a congregation of Unitarian Universalists like a boxful of Bernie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans? Because we too come in such a wild assortment of varieties.


Rearing UU Kids in a Non-UU World: by Reverend Gary Kowalski
May 28th, 2006

Childhood ends. Babies grow up and move away. But parenting goes on and on.


Tuesdays with Jesus: by Reverend Gary Kowalski
April 15th, 2006

Everyone needs a teacher in their life, a wise guide or mentor. The best teachers are the ones who not only have book learning but also heart knowledge, who convey a message not merely with their words but also with the power and example of their lives.


Speed Dating with Buddha : by Reverend Gary Kowalski
April 2nd, 2006

Living in Vermont, I expect to be behind the times, two or three fashion steps behind the rest of the country. Mention “blackberries” here and folks still imagine you’re talking about a pie filling.


A House of Hospitality: by Reverend Gary Kowalski
January 29th, 2006

Growing up as a Unitarian, there was very little ritual in my life. But in the home where I was reared, we did have a mazuzah on our door.


Land of the Free: by Reverend Gary Kowalski
January 15th, 2006

On Sunday, March 21, 1965, the first day of spring, three thousand Americans gathered in Selma, Alabama, to march together toward the state capitol in Montgomery.


Miracle Sunday: by Reverend Gary Kowalski
November 11th, 2005

This morning I want to tell you a true story. It’s a story about a man whom none of you have ever heard of but who is very, very, very famous.


In Praise of Randomness: by Reverend Gary Kowalski
October 30th, 2005

It’s said that history repeats itself, the first time as tragedy and then as farce.


Judge Not: by Reverend Gary Kowalski
October 9th, 2005

Christian denominations are clashing over the issue of homosexuality. It’s hard to pick up a newspaper without reading a headline of pastors being put on trial or schisms brewing.


Let's Talk: by Reverend Gary Kowalski
September 18th, 2005

This past summer, Susan Stamberg of National Public Radio reported on Miss Lilly, an eighty-one year old woman she encountered in the Luxembourg Gardens in Paris.


Fighting Giants: by Reverend Gary Kowalski
September 11th, 2005

Wherever you go in the world, you’ll find stories about fighting giants. In Africa, there’s the legend of Abiyoyo.