Tag Archive for: creation

Light & Salt: Lent Day 39

Lenten Recipe

Recipe 39: Tropical Sweet Potatoes

Lenten Journey Day 39 – Light and Salt 

Change. You have changed through the Lenten Season. In fact, our Lord Jesus Christ is the author of change. He advocated our need to change. Your increased interaction with him has set you on the path to change. That change is articulated through repentance, that is, a conscious desire to change. Through his words and life, Jesus taught that in simplicity we can find happiness and inner peace. Lent offers the first steps on that path toward simplicity.

Christ has the ability to change evil into good. Certainly, at the Cross, he transformed the evil Crucifixion into a “Good” Friday event, by the power of the Resurrection. Jesus also changes the meaning words and concepts for us to understand the power of the good. For instance, he took the words of condemnation and turned them into words of salvation. The first man heard the words, “Take and eat this will make you like God,” and was condemned. Jesus took those same words and turned them into words of salvation, “Take and eat,” this will make you like God, for this is my body and this is my blood.

Jesus is the one who transforms us and in him we see a transfiguration. A renewal for our lives. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus gives us a formula for happiness. In the Beatitudes we are told what is really important in life. In giving us hope and belief in tomorrow, he concludes the Beatitudes by once again changing us giving us an opportunity to partake in the Divine Nature. The same one who once said, “I am the light of the world,” now turns to us and says, “You are the light of the world,” giving us an opportunity, much like the disciples who witnessed the transfiguration, who saw His radiance, an opportunity to see the fullness of God.

According to the Old Testament, the first thing that God wills is light, “Let there be light.” This is independent of any celestial body. It is pure light. It is radiating light. It is healing light. It is the light that is from the beginning of time and continues forever. Yes, Jesus now places you there, “You are the light of the world!’

Jesus continues in the Sermon on the Mount by saying “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.”

Using something as small and seemingly insignificant as a grain of salt, Jesus emphasizes how important your life is in the big picture. The Lord proclaims that you are important because you are that salt of the earth. That salt is used to flavor life, to give life its meaning and to give it content, that is, inner happiness, inner strength, inner peace.

In Armenian Church tradition a priest blesses the homes of his parishioners and part of that ritual involves blessing water for the spiritual needs of the family and blessing the bread for the physical needs of the family. Equally as important, the priest blesses salt because flavor is necessary in life. We are called to the happiness of life, to share in God’s love, in God’s kingdom, in the goodness that is all around us. Imagine, “You are the salt of the earth” because you give meaning to what we know as life. With this gift comes responsibility – not to lose saltiness, not to lose flavor. 

Likewise, regarding the light that you are, he says, “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

There is a responsibility that comes with being light. Light needs to shine. Yours is to light the world. You do not have the right to hide light.

Today you find more opportunities of expressing our responsibility in God’s Creation. You are called to a unique responsibility of being salt, the flavor of life. You are the light which illuminates the darkness and illuminates the path to your heavenly Father. As night falls on the Lenten Season, we are given the responsibility to shine light on a world that is in need of illumination.

The sun goes down daily over our lives, but for many lives, the glimmer of hope for a new sun rise is nonexistent. Imagine leaving a room, turning off the lights and the room becomes so dark that those people in it cannot see the light switch. They don’t know where to turn. They don’t know where to reach to turn on the light. You are the light of the world. Shine. Turn on the switch. Provide hope, faith and love. 

Today God is calling upon you to become the light of the world, not to hide yourself under a table but to put yourself on the light stand. As someone who has gone through this Lenten season you now have a new responsibility to light the darkness and in so doing, to become an agent of Christ, to become a pillar of hope where there cannot be hope. You are the salt of the Earth to bring flavor to life, you are the light of the world to bring light into the darkness.

For today’s prayer, I offer a hymn of Saint Nerses Shnorhali (Norasdeghdzyal):
In the beginning the Word newly created the heaven and heavens out of nothing, and the celestial hosts: the watchers, the angels and the elements, contrary one to the other, and yet agreeing, by which the indescribable Trinity is ever glorified.

The thrice-holy One, dominion and Godhead in one nature, the light uncreated that creates, commanded that there be created light, which He made to shine on the first Lord’s day that was Sunday, by which the inexpressible Trinity is ever glorified.

O You Love, in love You humbled Yourself and took human form for our salvation, in the same body that was crucified, and laid in the tomb of death, this day You rose as God and the angels proclaimed; come you who are saved, sing with the angel praises to him that is risen.


Armodoxy for Today: Light

Over the last 50 years or so, people who have succumbed to heart failure have been brought back to life thanks to developments in medicine and better methods of resuscitation. It is interesting to note the experiences of the victim/survivors, upon being revived. Many describe being in the presence of a calming and warm light. Yes, light is being described not by kilowatts or power, but by temperature, by warmth, they say.

I have had the pleasure of knowing a couple of these survivors and I found that there is no denying the reality they experienced on the “other side” of life. They understand people’s skepticism over their experience, but they won’t renege on their story: they were dead, they felt a warm light and then they returned from death. Some will also add that they had an out-of-body experience, where they witnessed themselves being resuscitated from a birds-eye view. In the end, they returned to tell of their experiences.

Within the Judeo-Christian tradition, the first creation story written in Genesis begins with God creating light (1.2) on the first day. It is interesting because the qualifier of what we consider “light,” that is, the sun, doesn’t appear in this account until the fourth day! (1:14-19)

Light is the first thing that is created. And whether you take the story of creation metaphorically, mythically or literally, you have to admit that the placement of the creation of light as the first act of the story (before the Sun) points to a light that is quite different than what we understand when we open the window or turn on the switch. It is a light that can be measure in intensity and warmth.

This week we have been looking at the Biblical passage John 3:13-21, which was the Sunday lectionary reading. We come to understand that Jesus Christ was there in the beginning, before time and matter. He is Divine. Reading on, we find in the passage that we connect true love with the sacrifice of the Cross.

Today we focus on the concluding words of the passage: … the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.

Therefore, in a passage which begins by placing Jesus at the beginning of time, it concludes with an explanation of Jesus’ proclamation, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” (John 8:12)

The Armenian Church prescribes this passage on the third Sunday following Theophany for a reason. When God is revealed – whether as presented by Matthew & Luke with manger, kings, shepherds, the inn and all the nativity props, or by John’s placement of Jesus at the beginning of time – the Light is present. It is light defined by something greater than photons and powered by wattage. It is the Light eternal. It beckons us to walk, pray, meditate and grow in the Eternal Presence of God.

Let us pray, Nersess Shnorhali’s prayer of the 21st hour, O Christ, True Light, make my soul worthy to behold with you the light of Your glory, in that day when You call me and to rest in the hope of good things in the mansions of the just until the day of Your glorious coming.” Amen.

Beauty as Element

Next Step #622: Beauty in a world struck by a virus: discovering the importance of beauty in Creation and in our creations. Poetry, art, music all come together to accentuate the joy we find in life. Pope Francis on Prayer. Day of prayer and a study of prayer against the pandemic. McDonald & Jack: look for the source. Virtual sacraments: The new Happy Harry of the day?
Isabel Bayrakdarian “Antaram Dzaghig”
Healing through Music – A message from Isabel Bayrakdarian
Pirsig’s Metaphysics on Quality
Pope Francis joins Muslim leaders to call for day of prayer against coronavirus
Power of Prayer Study (Kansas)
Happy Harry Radio
Jim Lovell on Apollo 8
Cover: Flowers beyond paper, 2020 Fr. Vazken
Engineered by Ken Nalik
Produced by Suzie Shatarevyan for InHisShoes.org
Look for The Next Step on blubrry.com
Listen via Stitcher Radio on demand! 

Evolving to a Better Creation

Next Step #296 – February 6, 2014

With some needles sticking out of his arms, Fr. Vazken shares the ancient Faith with nurses, and takes a look at the Creation/Evolution debate which is tragically being taken in a literal format (Nye vs. Hem). No worries: he’s not drugged. This is about understanding metaphor and respecting science. It’s about evolving to a better form of Creation. It’s about creating an Evolution which accounts for all of us. More on “managing the fulcrum” – the untapped power of Christianity in our lives. Also – stories of 50 years ago, the Beatles, Dad and Seeroon – all in this Next Step.
Song: “Besame Mucho” by the Beatles
Debate Nye vs. Hem on NPR
The Debate on YouTube
Seeroon Darer
Engineered by Ken Nalik
Produced by Suzie Shatarevyan for epostle.net
Look for The Next Step on blubrry.com
Now on Stitcher Radio! 

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