The Gospel of St. John ends with the words, “And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. Amen.” (21:25)
I have always assumed that this was hyperbole, an exaggerated statement not meant to be taken literally. After all, the Gospel narrative accounts for three years of Jesus’ life, from baptism to resurrection. And technically, St. John’s account can be spread over a single year. Even if there was an event or miracle recorded every minute of his wake life, the recording process would not be prohibited by the amount of space on the planet.
St. John writes these words after his account of the Resurrection and during the time that the Christian community was organizing, and the Church was placing roots as it expanded. After the Resurrection of Christ, the message was spreading like wildfire, as more and more people were experiencing a new mindset, where death was no longer to be feared and God’s love was readily available to all.
Over the last several weeks (since Easter), I have presented the work of the Armenian Church Youth Ministries Center from 2003 on. The series, called “It was 20 years ago today,” chronicled miracles and events that took place from a small church which was built on a faith in the power of resurrection over crucifixion, light over darkness, love over hatred. As I wrote the last entry, I realized there was so much more that I could have recorded, so much more that should be shared, so much more, that perhaps there might not be enough space or time to write it down. No, these words are not hyperbole, rather they reflect a genuine understanding of the impact the Christian message has had on the lives of people. One person who moves from hurt to healing, is multiplied by the number of people he or she affects in and with his or her life.
Now, in the case of Christ, the Son of God, manifesting the Divine Spirit in our world, can we possibly even fathom the effect the Incarnation had on the world. The passage we read above is the epilogue to St. John’s Gospel. It is the ending to a Gospel that started off, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.”
The Light is all consuming, all revealing, and with the Light, there can be no darkness.
We pray the prayer of St. Nersess Shnorhali from the 21st hour.
O Christ, True Light, make my soul worthy to behold with joy the light of Your glory, in that day when You call me, to rest in the hope of good things in the mansions of the just until the day of Your glorious coming. Have mercy upon Your Creatures and upon me, a great sinner.
Cover: Tech festival, Yerevan 2014, Fr. Vazken