Tag Archive for: Mission

Mission Today

Armodoxy for Today: Mission Today

The words of Christ are always relevant. The words he speaks in the Gospel are timeless.

Today’s message is a meditation of sorts, by listening to the words of Christ and understanding the timelessness of the words. The Gospel passage which was read in the Armenian Church this Sunday comes from the Gospel of St. Luke, chapter 4, where Jesus, following his baptism and the 40-day period of fasting in the wilderness, now comes back to his home town, Nazareth. He returns, “In the power of the Spirit,” says the narrator. There he enters the synagogue and opens the scriptures and proceeds to read a passage from the Prophet Isaiah. Upon completing the reading, he closes the book and proclaims, “Today, this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

Thus, Jesus is proclaiming that this is his mission, the reason he has come to be with us. As a Church, the Body of Christ, entrusted with carrying on the mission of Christ, this passage then becomes our mission.

This then, is the passage which he read. I invite you to listen to the words he reads. He is proclaiming his mission. Think of our world today, the tragedies that confront us and the healing that is necessary. Pray for our world and you’ll come to understand that Jesus’ message is timeless and always relevant.

He opened the book and read,

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me

To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,

To proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind,

To set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”

(Luke 4:14-21)

Cover: Etchmiadzin i Horeh: “Descent of the Only Begotten from the Father” carving outside the Holy Angels Sanctuary at Etchmiadzin


Armodoxy for Today: Discipleship

This weekend the Armenian Church celebrates the “72 disciples of Jesus.” Before you accuse me of having my thumb on the scale, adding an extra 60 to the group we’re all familiar with, read the details in the Gospel of Luke (chapter 10), “The Lord appointed seventy-two others also, and sent them two by two before Him into every city and place where He Himself was about to go. Then He said to them, “The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.‘”

Discipleship in the Gospel was a calling given to a group of students, in this case of Jesus, with a mission. Jesus sent these 72 disciples with these words, “Go your way; behold, I send you out as lambs among wolves. Carry neither money bag, knapsack, nor sandals; and greet no one along the road. But whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ And if a son of peace is there, your peace will rest on it; if not, it will return to you. And remain in the same house, eating and drinking such things as they give, for the laborer is worthy of his wages. Do not go from house to house.  Whatever city you enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you. And heal the sick there, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’”

With these words, Jesus sets the tone for Christian missionary activity. It is focused. It is selfless service. It is to spread the Gospel which, as we hear in the passage, it centered in peace.  With this same invitation many people have followed the call of Jesus, some into the clergy, others, have embraced it as a way of life as their personal lay ministry.

It is from this passage that Christianity was delivered and spread. In the case of the Armenian Church, when we reflect on its apostolic roots, today we are reminded that the holy apostles, be they Thaddeus, Bartholomew or one of the others, were part of this mission. Everything we know of Jesus, His Love and His teachings was delivered to us because of the work of these faithful disciples of Jesus, working through this Holy Body, the Church.

The word “disciple” may conjure images of men in the apostolic age. DaVinci’s “Last Supper” is perhaps one of the most famous depictions of Jesus with his twelve disciples. Today’s focus on the 72 help us go beyond the stereotypical images. In the passage we read, note that the 72 are referred without reference to gender. In the early Church discipleship was accessible by all.

At every moment of our lives, we are invited to be disciples of Christ. Never look further than yourself to find the necessary openness to the divine teaching of Jesus Christ.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, one of the most prominent Protestant theologians of the 20th century, was killed by the Nazis during World War II, for his defense of the Jewish populations. He was outspoken about the despicable and horrid treatment of that population. His weapon of criticism was the Gospel of Jesus Christ and he went to his death in defense of that Gospel. He wrote much about discipleship.

On this weekend where we focus on discipleship, I leave you with these words of Bonhoeffer on discipleship and Grace. Here are words for contemplation, for meditation:

True discipleship is characterized by obedience to Christ. There is “cheap” and “costly” grace. Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, communion without confession. It is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate. In contrast to cheap grace, costly grace confronts us as a gracious call to follow Jesus. It comes as a word of forgiveness to the broken spirit and the contrite heart. It is costly because it compels a man to submit to the yoke of Christ and follow him; it is grace because Jesus says: “My yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Cover photo: Disciple at Ghazanchetsots Cathedral, 2014 Fr. Vazken

Surprise Boredom No More

Next Step #763 – January 26, 2023 – Are there things that still surprise you? From politicians to the realities of war, there doesn’t seem to be surprises. The priest and a commitment to anti-boredom: The joy of the priesthood. A call interrupts the recording only to demonstrate the topic.
Pope Francis Interview
Miss Armenia intro
Armodoxy for Today
Wounds are open?
Bonnie Raitt, Just Like That
Cover: EnvatoElements
Produced by Suzie Shatarevyan for Epostle.net
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Outward Love

Armodoxy for Today

Outward Love

Yesterday we made a bold proclamation by saying there was something greater than God, and Jesus pointed to it when he instructed the people to approach God only after reconciling with their brothers and sisters. St. John the Evangelist, in his letter, focuses on the reasoning behind this pronouncement.

“No one has seen God at any time,” says St. John and continues, “If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us. … We have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him. … If someone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.” (I John 4)

Love, for the Christian, is not a conceptual idea, nor is an abstract thought. Love is expressed and understood in our relationships with one other. Loving is caring. Loving is embracing. Love is real. It is God given and demanded back in return by loving and caring for others here in this lifetime.

Let us pray a prayer from the Armenian Church’s Book of Hours (Jamakirk), “Lord our God, we give thanks to You, for You have granted us to pass the day in peace. Grant us, Lord, to pass the evening and the night without sin and stumbling, and to stand firm and abide steadfastly in faith, in hope and in love, and in the observance of Your commandments. Give peace to the entire world and stability to Your holy Church and salvation to our souls. For to You is befitting glory, dominion and honor, now and forever and ever. Amen.

Mission & Continuity

Armodoxy for Today


Mission & Continuity

Jesus began his ministry in the town of Nazareth. St. Luke the Evangelists records (chapter 4):
So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written:

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed;
To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”

Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” Thus, proclaiming his mission.

When we describe the Armenian Church as “Apostolic” it means we are in a link to the apostles themselves and carry on their mission, which is the mission of Jesus Christ. Today, in our hearing, Jesus has proclaimed His mission. Our mission.

Human Rights: Jesus and today’s response

Next Step #641: Was Jesus concerned with human rights? Armodoxy for the day: Fr. Vazken challenges the listener to move from a future faith to a terrestrial one. A quick look at theologians – traditional and liberal, eastern and western and their missing voice today. The Kingdom of God is within and without you: The supernatural affecting our lives today. 2020, beyond the tragedies: A call to activism from Jesus’ mission.
Big Rock Candy Mountain by Burl Ives
Governors who Govern
Genocide & Human Rights” (1992)
Martin Luther King Jr, “A Testament of Hope” 
Hans Küng, “My Struggle for Freedom
Dalai Lama, “The Art of Happiness
Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy
Glendale “Sundown” Resolution
Luke 4:14-21: Jesus shares his mission
Preface to the Next Step” (2007)
Cover: “The Night Sam was born” Fr. Vazken 2002Engineered by Ken Nalik
Produced by Suzie Shatarevyan for InHisShoes.org
Look for The Next Step on blubrry.com
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Realigned to the Road Ahead

Next Step #594: The Genocide is not a bargain chip nor a punishment: Rejecting a political solution for sacred remembrance. A look and re-look at a true mission for ourselves and our collective energy, as prescribed by Christ himself. “For this I was ordained…” (Luke 4) and its meaning today. Finding the poor, the brokenhearted, captives, blind and oppressed – in the here and now – not too far from home. A special Fr. Vazken annual review and one of the essentials for the In His Shoes and Armodoxy understanding!
Dizzy Gillespie – Odyssey
Salt Peanuts
Essentially Anush – Line drawings
Tweeting from Fr. Krikor’s Ordination
Luke 4
Western Diocese website http://www.wdacna.com/
Cover: Road in Jermuk, 2019 Fr. Vazken
Engineered by Ken Nalik
Produced by Suzie Shatarevyan for http://InHisShoes.org
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Mother’s Gift at the Gate

Next Step #571: Never a Mother’s Day without mother: Consecration of bishops at Holy Etchmiadzin. Mother at the Foot of the Cross today: Cradle to grave imagery. Pentecost has never come so early! Thoughts and prayers from Etchmiadzin. Implementing the Mission Statement of the Church: Abortion rights, free will and the fear of war. Finding the Call of Christ through the Church.
MLK: Letter from Birmingham Jail
Consecration of Bishops
Last Week’s Next Step: Bishop’s Testimony
Order of Darkness Sermon by Fr. Vazken
Soufra Screening
Innovate Armenia
Technical Director: Ken Nalik
Produced by Suzie Shatarevyan for InHisShoes.org
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Revisiting Kindred Spirits

Next Step #554: Just in time or perhaps as a matter of reflecting in time, a revisit to Next Step #31 – Kindred Spirits: John the Baptist and Martin Lurther King Jr., two giants – one a Biblical figure, the other contemporary, yet they serve the same God and the same Lord. What is the legacy left by these ushers of the Way? Fr. Vazken brings together the work and mission that has driven these people to point the way to Christ. They stood up courageously against the power structure, urging peace, justice, and love, even unto death, and thus became martyrs for their unwavering preaching of the Kingdom of God. Also, a look at the life and ministry of Fr. Mesrob Sarafian, an archpriest of the Armenian Church. Also: Ani’s Spiritual Bubbles on “Dreams”.
Gor Mkhitarian “Yeraz”
Original Next Step #31
Cover: Reflections on Planes by Fr. Vazken, 2018
Engineered by Ken Nalik
Produced by Suzie Shatarevyan for InHisShoes.org
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Check up is a Tune Up

Next Step #538: Using birthdays and anniversaries to check-in and tune-up: A practical approach to your Sunday worship with Christ. Segments for the Service of Calling: Anathema and renounce these additions too. Read & know the mission before you invest: Luke 4:17f – walking in the shoes of the poor, the brokenhearted, the blind as the mission comes alive.
Jacob Armen “When Drums Conduct”
Mer Hooys – House of Hope
Luke 4:17f
Kavanaugh Testimony
Fr. Vazken’s New Video Series – AC202
Cover: House by Anush 1978
Engineered by Ken Nalik
Produced by Suzie Shatarevyan for InHisShoes.org
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Look for The Next Step on blubrry.com
Listen via Stitcher Radio on demand!