Tag Archive for: Eclipse

Choked with Emotions

Armodoxy for Today: Choked with Emotions

In 1985 Carl Segan and his wife Ann Druyan authored the book, “Contact.” The story was about the possibilities of contact between humans and extraterrestrial beings.  About a decade later the story was made into a motion picture starring Jodi Foster and Matthew Machaney. It was fascinating because the story was written from a science perspective, as would be expect Carl Segan who was an astronomer and planetary scientists, and very eloquently articulated scientific concepts for the average man. He was an advocate of skeptical scientific inquiry and the scientific method. Yet at the end of Contact he concedes that words and the expressions we possess are inadequate in explaining or expressing the events of the first human contact with the extraterrestrial world. In common parlance we can say he choked.

In birthing rooms, homes, and fields throughout the world, parents meeting their child for the first time are overwhelmed with tears and choke on finding the words to express that awesome moment of life. Our Lord Jesus refers to this moment, “When a woman is in labor, she has pain, because her hour has come. But when her child is born, she no longer remembers the anguish because of the joy of having brought a human being into the world.  So you have pain now; but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you. On that day you will ask nothing of me. Very truly, I tell you, if you ask anything of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete.” (John 16)

The last few days we’ve been talking about celestial events on the scale of solar eclipses. During one such event, as the Moon covered the Sun and only the solar flares were dancing around the circular disk in the sky, I was moved to sing the Armenian Hymn, sharagan, “Aravod Looso” – a praise to the morning Sunrise and to the Light. Try as I may, words were not coming out of my mouth. I was choking in emotion. Overwhelmed by the event.

Events that are bigger than life – whether exploding in the cosmos or the first glance at new life, humble us. They choke our voice so we speak with our heart, and a tear in our eye. They are subtle reminders of the grandeur of God.

We pray from the Book of Sirach, Because of him each of his messengers succeeds, and by his word all things hold together. We could say more but could never say enough; let the final word be: “He is the all.” Where can we find the strength to praise him?  For he is greater than all his works. Awesome is the Lord and very great, and marvelous is his power. Glorify the Lord and exalt him as much as you can, for he surpasses even that. Amen. (chapter 43)

Celestial Triggers

Armodoxy for Today: Celestial Trigger

Triggers come in all shapes and sizes. On a gun it’s the devices that releases the mechanism to shoot. Flowers or furry animals may trigger allergies in people. And a good actor interpreting his or her parts may trigger emotions that will soften the hardest of hearts.

Celestial events, such as solar or lunar eclipses often trigger discussions of a religious variety. Because the movements of the players, that is the Moon and Sun, have their own rhythms and patterns, some people ascribe mystical explanations to the entire event. On closer look, the only mystical element of these movements is that they are unusually precise and perfect. Dare we say, they point to a designer, who is often noted as God.

At a solar eclipse a person who noted my interest in the event asked, if the eclipse is mentioned in the Bible? Now, if you’ve been a priest long enough you know where this is leading (or misleading) –somehow this is being a precursor to end times. I’ve read in the Bible about darkening-sky events, but in the case of eclipses which last only a few minutes, there is nothing apocalyptic about them. But look at it in another way, MRI’s and Xrays are not mentioned in the Bible either, but we use them to diagnose a wide variety illnesses. Jets aren’t mentioned in the Bible, but they sure help get you around.

Armodoxy challenges you to look at nature as an extension of God’s wonders. They are all around. Rather than allowing the unknown and the un-understood to trigger thoughts of end times, celebrate the majesty of God, and all the beauty of His Creation.

We end with this prayer from the Book of Sirach, “The glory of the stars is the beauty of heaven, a glittering array in the heights of the Lord. On the orders of the Holy One they stand in their appointed places; they never relax in their watches. Look at the rainbow and praise Him who made it; it is exceedingly beautiful in its brightness. It encircles the sky with its glorious arc; the hands of the Most High have stretched it out. (chapter 43)

Celestial Time Table

Armodoxy for Today: Celestial Timetable

I stood looking up at the heavens, waiting for the Moon to eclipse the Sun. We were in Texas to witness this unique phenomenon that takes place every year or two when the Moon passes between the Earth and Sun, in such a manner to be referred to as a solar eclipse. What made this one special was that it was accessible to us giving us a chance to view it in real time and real life.

Slowly the Moon made its way in front of the Sun as we viewed through welder’s glasses. We watched as a small sliver was bitten out of the Sun and slowly that sliver became larger and larger, into a shape that resembled a PacMac.

It was 1:30PM when the Sun was totally covered. We took off our glasses and looked straight up. In the darkness, the Moon stood directly over us with solar flares, ninety-three million miles behind the Moon, framing it perfectly, and “perfectly” is the operative word of the celestial event.

Centuries ago, astronomers studying the skies and the motions of the Sun and Moon, pinpointed this eclipse precisely with a time and a location – for us, in the desert of Texas. Trains, planes and automobiles will be delayed, but not so with the movement of these giant worlds. The perfection of Creation is evident in the patterns and paths we observe and measure.

We pray a prayer of praise, from Scripture, from the Book of Sirach, “The sun, when it appears, proclaims as it rises what a marvelous instrument it is, Great is the Lord who made it; at His orders it hurries on its course.” (Chapter 43)

cover: public domain earth-in-sky

Eclipsed! Thomas’ Story

Armodoxy for Today: Eclipsed! (Doubting Thomas)

The Gospel tells us that Jesus appeared to the disciples on several occasions after the Resurrection. During that first week, every time he appeared to the disciples, Thomas, who was called the Twin was not present. In fact, Thomas doubted the others had seen the Resurrected Lord, hence he is referred to as Doubting Thomas. He said, “Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.”

Thomas was eclipsed from the bearer of Light as a follower of Jesus, to the darkness of disbelief.

We read in John, chapter 21:

And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, “Peace to you!” Then He said to Thomas, “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.”

And Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!”

Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

The eclipse is over! Thomas’ proclamation was complete and total: “My Lord and my God!” And note that he did not put his fingers on the marks of the nail. Thomas was transformed from unbelieving to believing.

Most Christians come to Christ without seeing the physical Jesus, but they come to believe because they have seen his works – the love in the world.

Let us pray, Almighty and ever living God, who strengthen your apostle Thomas with sure and certain faith in Your Son’s Resurrection: Grant us so perfectly and without doubt to believe in Jesus Christ, our Lord and our God, that our faith may never be found wanting in Your sight; through Him who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Disrupting the Ballet

Armodoxy for Today: Disrupting the Ballet

The annular solar eclipse could not have occurred at a better time for us. It came at a time when we needed to stop and stand in awe. And those of us who witnessed it, did exactly that. We endured a week of news of escalating violence in the Middle-East and imploding war, which fed our skewed understanding of life as some sort of meaningless string of events. And then on Saturday morning, in the skies over our heads, we witnessed a spectacle of light and shadows. Our Moon came between our planet and the Sun in a cosmic ballet which once again took our breath away. At one point, it created, what is referred to as a “ring of fire” with the center of the Sun blacked out and a beautiful and circular ring hovering in the air.

A solar eclipse is a phenomenon which happens every couple of years. This time, it happened over the sliver of the planet that we inhabit here in the Western United States, making its appearance accessible to millions in its path. It is a phenomenon because the size of the moon, and its distance from the surface of our planet and the distance between it and the Sun is such that this small mass can blot out the entirety of the Sun, an object which is 400 times the size of the Moon.

We watched as the Moon danced before the Sun, moving closer and closer to the point of its annular eclipse and then the ring of fire appeared. I couldn’t help but also keep tabs on the time. The eclipse occurred exactly at the point that was predicted by the mathematics of its motion. And at that moment of eclipse, we wake up that this is not by coincidence or by chance. The cosmic ballet is choreographed by the God of the Universe to the second. The proportions, the angles, the time, come together perfectly as only a Perfect Creator could orchestrate. This is the world we are recklessly and negligently playing with, with our wars and our inability to resolve our disputes with anything but bombs and bigger bombs.

It was in the aftermath of the eclipse that I heard a song by Grammy Award winning artist India.Arie Simpson, called “God is for Real.” The timing of this performance was just as profoundly orchestrated for my reference as was my witnessing of the eclipse. At a time when hatred and evil are making headway in this world, we in the Christian community must focus on the wonders of God. This has been the message the Armenian Church has preached to its people during the worst turmoil in their history. And today, it comes to us. Here is an excerpt with an invitation link at the end to hear it in its entirety.

God is for Real by India.Arie

The sweetest honey to the brightest flower

The largest planet to the smallest atom

Snowflakes and the bird kingdom

Smaller THAN the eye can see bigger then the mind can conceive

Heard a man on the radio today, I mean I’m not going to believe in anything that I can’t see and I’ve

been through a lot of hardships in my life ya know ya know in my life

Must confess I disagreed with what he had to say

How he could he not believe that God is real I don’t understand how he could feel that way

When there’s earth, air, water, and fire, so many different flowers, sunshine and rain showers

So many different crystals, ant hills and volcanoes

That’s how I know that God is real. All of this is not by chance. That’s how I know that God is real.

All of this is not by chance.

YouTube Video: God is Real

Songwriters: Drew Ramsey, India Arie Simpson, Shannon B. Sr. Sanders.