Armodoxy for Today: Evolving Love
When political systems do not work there is a call for revolution. The word itself comes from revolve – that is to turn around. In Christianity we use the word “repentance” which means to turn direction and aim toward God.
From early apostolic days, the term repent was used to imply a change in direction toward God. The Apostle Peter urged people to “repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.” (Acts 2:38)
Repentance or repenting is a necessary part of the Christian life. What is often forgotten is that repentance takes place after self-evaluation. The necessity to repent is part of the human condition because we are not perfect.
One of the prayers offered by the priest in the Armenian Church is a prayer that you will never hear read over you, and if you do hear it read over you may want to check our surroundings. It is from the funeral service of the Church where the priest asks God, in His Mercy, to forgive the person of his sins, “because who is it that lives, and does not sin?” And in an explanation (if not to God then to all who hear this prayer) the priest confesses that “Only You (God) are sinless and to You belong the kingdom of all eternities.”
In fact, “sin” is merely an acknowledgement of our human condition. It means we are not perfect and we miss the mark of perfection. Think of a dart board, it is a target with a bull’s eye in the middle. Now imagine tossing darts at the board. For every dart that misses the center, that dart is said to be in sin. The dart that misses the bull’s eye by one ring and the dart that misses by three rings, as well as the dart that misses the entire board, have sinned; they have missed the mark.
Sometimes repentance is described with the phrase turning 180 degrees, that is, turning completely around. Not so. Sometime smaller adjustments are necessary, and the only judge of the degree of adjustment is you yourself. That is why self-evaluation is so important in the life of the Christian, and for this reason the Armenian Church gives opportunities, through days of prayer and fasting, for self-evaluation.
Each of us is in need of correcting our courses in various degrees. This is the revolution that is the beginning of living with heightened awareness. Inside of the word revolution is the word evolution and in reverse form the word love. The true call to Repentance is the call to turn around the LOVE that is missing from our lives so that we can evolve. All living forms evolve. Evolution is part of the living process. Things that are dead, decay. They do not evolve. And rightly so, they do not have the capacity to love.
The God-gift that is inside each of us is the capacity to love. Revolutions that do not accent the love within them are doomed to failure. Revolutions that have turned around the love within them are of the type that Jesus Christ ushered in with the Kingdom of Heaven. And so he instructs us to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all else will fall into place. (Matthew 6:33)
We pray a prayer from the Book of Hours of the Armenian Church, “O God, Merciful, Compassionate and Patient, who pains for the sufferings of His creation. Console and grace us the reason for repentance so that we may enter Your Holy Church with spiritual enrichment, confession and repentance and along with your saints praise and glorify You, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirt. Amen.”