Tag Archive for: Darkness

Advent 31-50: Light Switch

Advent Day 31 of 50: Light Switch

The metaphor of light is used by Jesus on many occasions, to refer to himself and in turn in reference to you, his follower. “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)  Accordingly, as a bearer of that light he then says, “You are the light of the world… Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16)

There is nothing fatalistic about this statement. Your goodness is not determined by God or any other force beside yourself. You are the master of your own destiny. “Let your light so shine,” says the Lord. Control of that light switch belongs to no one else but to you.

As we continue in our study of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus’ next statement is, The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness! (Matthew 6:22-23)

Placed within the context of the entire Teaching of Jesus, we read yesterday the axiom that where our treasure is there are heart is also. Today the material and the spiritual are divided in terms of the light and dark.

At the end of this Journey you will be coming face to face with the Light, first in the form of a star that will guide you to the True Light. And then, you will be in the presence of the Light to receive the Light. The Advent Journey is understanding how fortunate you are to have the control of the light switch. When you walk in the light, it is because you have chosen to do so. When you are in the darkness, it is of your doing.

Let us pray from the 21st hour of St. Nersess Shnorhali’s Confession of Faith, Christ, True Light, make my soul worthy to behold with joy 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.

Cover: Luna & Gregory Beylerian, 2023

Gregory, Catalyst

Armodoxy for Today: The Road to the Center of Light – a five-part mini-series of daily messages dedicated to this special week in the life of the Armenian Church. Five days, five inspirations, five sparks that connect to shine the Christ Light.

Day 3: Gregory: Gayané kindled Hripsimé’s spark, but still, a catalyst was necessary to get the Revolution burning. Gregory was that catalyst, bringing the message of Christianity to the pagan world. He was the son of a Parthenian nobleman, and while his biographical details are laced with tragedy, including assassination, rejection and executions, for our purposes, we remember that Gregory, brought up in a Christian family, arrives in Armenia toward the end of the 3rd century, preaching the Gospel. He entered the King’s service and accomplished his tasks conscientiously. However, when asked to make offerings to the pagan gods, he refused, professing his faith in the one God revealed through Jesus Christ.

The King, Dirtad, did not tolerate his insubordination, and viewed Christianity (represented by Gregory) as a threat to the stability of his kingdom. He sentenced Gregory to death in a deep pit at the base of Mt. Ararat along the path of the Arax river. In Armenian this place is call խոր վիրապ (khor-virab), which is a literal translation of the words “deep pit.”

Gregory stood his ground. He did not resist evil, as he was instructed by Christ. He knew that the ways of the world could be sweet, but temporary. He did not give up His commitment to the Truth of Jesus Christ.

In the world we are always given options between the light and dark. While khor-virab is a place, and still attracts hundreds of thousands of pilgrims each year, khor-virab is also a metaphor in Armodoxy. It is the deep abyss and its darkness that blinds us to beauty and God’s wonders. In that darkness we follow the illusion of worldly wealth and remain ignorant to the love and compassion of family and friends. Physical death is what Gregory faced. We face spiritual death every day, and deliverance from that pit is available as it was for Gregory.

Gregory stayed firm in his commitment to Christ. He entered the pit as a death sentence only to walk out of it 13 years later, when the King Dirtad, suffering from a grave illness required healing. Gregory was kept alive with his prayers, his pious spiritual practices and the offering of the king’s sister, Khosrovitoukhd, who would bring scraps of food to the dungeon-pit sustain him.

Upon the king’s healing and recovery, Dirtad declared Christianity as the state religion. The year was 301, thus Armenia became the first Christian nation on earth. St. Gregory is revered as the patron saint of the Armenian Church. He is known as the Second Illuminator of Armenia, for bringing the Light into the darkness. The title of First Illuminator belongs to the Holy Apostles Thaddeus and Bartholomew who brought the Light of Christ to Armenia in the fifth decade of the first century.

Saturday is the feast of St. Gregory the Illuminator’s deliverance from the pit. Let us pray, Christ our God, you crown your saints with triumph and do the will of all who love you, looking after your creatures with love and kindness. Hear us from your holy and heavenly realm by the intercession of the Holy Mother of God and by the prayers of all your saints, especially the great patriarch of the Armenian people, St. Gregory the Illuminator. Hear us Lord and show us your mercy. Forgive, redeem and pardon our sins. Make us worthy thankfully to glorify you with the Father and with the Holy Spirit. Now and always and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Great Thursday – Darkness: Life without Christ

Holy Week Day #6 – Great Thursday – the Passion continues to unravel as Christ enters the Garden of Getsemane. We walk with Christ through this Amazing Story, where we encounter every human emotion, until we stand still in darkness – a Life without Christ.
Music: Diramayr, DerVoghormya and Oor es Mayr eem by Lucine Zakarian; Cover: Salvador Dali’s “Sacrament of the Last Supper”
Produced by Suzie Shatarevyan for ePostle.net

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By the Book

Next Step #567: Great Thursday Special. Fr. Vazken shares his meditation on “Darkness” (from the service of the same name during Holy Week). No need to complicate matters: the book is available and ready to follow. Easter Week Special.
Lusine Zakarian – from St. Etchmiadzin
Notre Dame Glowing Cross
Next Step #252 – Story of the Hawk
Next Step #043 – Holy Week
Horizon TV “Tonight” with Mike Sarian
Cover: Tintoretto – Magdalena Penitent (Musei Capitolini, Roma, 1598-1602)
Technical Director: Ken Nalik
Produced by Suzie Shatarevyan for InHisShoes.org
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The Better Candle

Next Step #274: Lighting a candle is much better than cursing the darkness. Fr. Vazken looks at two darknesses – cancer (breast) and war (Syria) in this light. He follows the light from Jesus to us, and our responsibility to be beacons of peace and love. Rev. Martin Luther King’s stand on Vietnam is used as inspiration for today.
Song: Peaceful World by Lara Derbedrosian
Compass – Anti War (#39)
Team In Her Shoes
Produced by Suzie Shatarevyan for epostle.net
Look for The Next Step on blubrry.com
Now on Stitcher Radio! 

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