Tag Archive for: Luke

Advent 48-50: Not Matthew, Not Luke

Advent Day 48 of 50: Not Matthew and Not Luke

There are three Nativity narratives. Two of them are the popular stories around which most Christmas celebrations take place.

In the Gospel of Matthew we briefly encounter the conception, and announcement of the virgin birth of Christ to Joseph. Wise men from the East visit Jesus and bring gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Because there are three gifts, most traditions believe there were three men, even though the Gospel does not specify the number of men. Beautiful stories and legends have evolved about the travels of the “Three Wise Men.” Following their visit we read one of the horror stories of the New Testament, “The Massacre of the Innocents” (Matthew 2:16-18). After a stay in Egypt, the Holy Family settles in Nazareth, and Jesus was therefore known as a “Nazarene.”

The Gospel of Luke, where the second Nativity narrative is found, is a bit more descriptive. It begins with the conception of both Jesus and his kinsman John the Baptist. We read about the miraculous birth of both and the meeting of their mothers, Elizabeth and Mary. A precious song sung by Mary the Asdvadzadzin glorifying the Lord. Prophecies are exchanged about Jesus and John. The Birth of Jesus takes place during a trip that Joseph and Mary have taken to comply with a census. Jesus is born in a stable, wrapped in swaddling cloths, and laid in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. (2:7) Angels and heavenly hosts sang the praises of God. Beyond the Birth of Christ, Luke records Jesus’ presentation at the temple 40 days after his birth and Simeon’s proclamation (2:22-35). He also recounts a story of the 12 year old Jesus, who amazes scholars at the temple.

Both Matthew and Luke pick up Jesus’ biographical sketches at age 30 at the River Jordon where he was baptized, the beginning point of his ministry. These are the stories that have inspired Hallmark writers to produce cards and movies for the Christmas season and holiday. Front lawns are adorned with nativity sets and bright lights remind us of the path the Wise Men took. There is one more Nativity narrative which is not often shared, but is the cornerstone for Armodoxy. We will visit that story tomorrow as our Advent season comes to a close.

Today, we read the Song of Mary, sometimes referred to as the Magnificat, in Armenian, Medzadzustseh “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant; for behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed. For He who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is His name. And His mercy is on those who fear Him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with His arm; He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He has put down the mighty from their thrones, and exalted the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich He has sent away empty. He has helped His servant Israel, in remembrance of His mercy, as He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his seed forever.” (Luke 1:46-55)

Reconciling with the senseless and the unnatural

Next Step #232 – November 15, 2012

An emotional unwinding of ideas at the death of a little girl. Fr. Vazken explores this tragedy from a pastoral standpoint, bringing together Armenian Orthodox themes – Discovery of the Cross and the raising of the sleeping child (Luke 8).  The vastness of the universe and a solar eclipse point to a unique ministry to the childless – a calling NOBODY wants. Wars, genocide, health, this time the page won’t turn. Other topics: The success of the Jehovah’s Witness. Participating vs. observing – and selling the product. The Supermarket model of Orthodoxy and the need to specialize to survive in the global marketplace of religion. And the child who selected a (Coptic) Pope.
Song: Paul McCartney’s “Calico Skies” 
Selecting the Coptic Pope
Dr. Harry Hagopian on the new Pope
Produced by Suzie Shatarevyan for epostle.net
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Standing between Two Worlds

Next Step #196 – March 8, 2012 

The true story of the Sun and the Moon is offered on this day of the full moon and solar flares. The story of the Dishonest Steward (Luke 16) sets the tone for a discussion of straddling two worlds – the physical and the spiritual, as Fr. Vazken opens a personal vortex into his ministry. This is a brief look at his own Lenten reflection and introspection. Loneliness and Joni Mitchell’s concert?
Song: Dele Yaman from the Raven CD
I Confess with Faith: www.armenianorthodoxy.org/I_confess_with_Faith.pdf
Produced by Suzie Shatarevyan for epostle.net
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Giving a Thanks Blessing


Next Step #22 – November 12, 2008

Stuffed Turkey, dressing and… Mother Goose? Not quite, but there is so much more to the holiday than the culinary delights that have … how do you say? Given us that je ne sais quoi satisfaction of the the salivary glands. It’s certainly not the addition of pilaf to the Thanksgiving menu that makes Thanksgiving come alive in the Armenian Orthodox tradition. Just like other feasts on our church calendar that give us opportunities to live out the message of Christ, Thanksgiving allows us to acknowledge that there’s something greater than ourselves. Fr. Vazken take the next step toward defining the richness of the Thanksgiving experience by poking at the Pharisee and the Tax Collector (Luke 18) and challenging listeners to give a thanks-blessing.

Featured songs: Mariam Matossian’s “Arev Arev” from In the Light album and Gor Mkitarian’s “Blessing” (Orhnutyun) from the not-yet-released Spirit album. On December 18, In His Shoes will proudly present Gor’s “Spirit” CD Release Concert at Zipper Hall with opening performance by Mariam Matossian. Tickets available online: ItsMySeat.com

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