Tag Archive for: New Life

Dreams of the Heart

Armodoxy for Today: Dreams of the Heart

The song played over the car radio speakers, and I reminisced about the first time I heard this tune. It was a song about reminiscing from a time when I had no need for such sentimental thoughts. But today, I was right in the grove: “Those were the Days” performed by Mary Hopkin. The song deals with reminiscence of both youth and romantic idealism: “Oh, my friend, we’re older but no wiser, for in our hearts the dreams are still the same… Those were the Days…”she sings.

There is much to reminisce on this 11th day of September, especially when we remember our world, pre-9/11. Yes, those were the days: I recall a naïve world of sorts. But even more, I ponder why we continue to make the same mistakes over and over again. Is it because we’ve grown older and yet no wiser? Is it really because our dreams have stayed the same?

Albert Einstein brought it down to a definition of insanity. He said doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results was insane. Yes, that is “getting older but no wiser” to the nth degree. It is insanity. But we continue to opt for the same-old-same-old. We believe politicians, put our trust on material wealth, feel secure with weapons of destruction and believe in superstitious notions of lucky charms and pre-planned destiny. Why? Why have we grown older but no wiser? Is it because our dreams have stayed the same?

Jesus says “No one puts a piece from a new garment on an old one; otherwise the new makes a tear, and also the piece that was taken out of the new does not match the old. And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; or else the new wine will burst the wineskins and be spilled, and the wineskins will be ruined.  But new wine must be put into new wineskins, and both are preserved.” (Luke 5:36-38)

The Christian message is a radical departure from anything else. Why else do we call the entrance into the Christian life, as a new birth? We are born anew from the womb of the Church – the Holy Font of Baptism – and thus enter a new life. Our new life cannot be put into the old holding tank. New life demands that we assess our dreams and evaluate them in the context of our new life. There will be cases where the dreams may be different and at times our dreams may remain the same. However, what does change when we encounter Christ, is a change of heart. Within that changed heart, the place of our dreams will guide us to seek solutions not without, but within. After all, we all know that the first step to actualize a dream is to wake up.

9/11 was a terror attack on the United States. It wasn’t the first and it won’t be the last. Terror is the means by which humans are controlled in places such as Artsakh, as well as in the Congo, Sudan, Central America, and even on the streets of America.

Let us pray the prayer of St. Francis of Assisi:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me bring love.
Where there is offence, let me bring pardon.
Where there is discord, let me bring union.
Where there is error, let me bring truth.
Where there is doubt, let me bring faith.
Where there is despair, let me bring hope.
Where there is darkness, let me bring your light.
Where there is sadness, let me bring joy.
O Master, let me not seek as much
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love,
for it is in giving that one receives,
it is in self-forgetting that one finds,
it is in pardoning that one is pardoned,
it is in dying that one is raised to eternal life.

Lenten Journey Day 37 – Born Again

Lenten Recipe

Recipe 37: Artichoke Risotto

Lenten Journey Day 37 – Born Again 

One evening in the life of our Lord Jesus, he was approached by a man named Nicodemus who seemingly complimented him. According to the Gospel of St. John, Nicodemus said to Jesus, “we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.” Jesus responds to Nicodemus in a rather awkward and unusual manner. Ordinarily you would expect the answer to such a compliment to be a kind thanks, or at the very least an acknowledgement. Instead Jesus turns to Nicodemus and gives him a qualifier. He said, “Unless one is born again he cannot see the Kingdom of God.”

These words, “being born again” can be translated in few ways. Literally, they mean to be “born from above” but it also implies renewal. Jesus’ words mean to be born from above, to be born anew, to be born again. No matter how we twist it, no matter how we say it Jesus demands from us a new beginning for our lives.

Throughout this Lenten season we’ve been challenges in many ways to discover truths about ourselves, so that at the end of the 40 days, we are truly born again, that is, we are born anew, fresh, from above.

Being born again is not limited to one time event in our lives. Nicodemus turns to Jesus and says, “How could this be? How could this possibly be when a man is old, can he enter for a second time into his mother’s womb to be born again?”

Jesus says, “Unless one is born of water and the spirit he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” Jesus is referring to baptism by saying to be born from the water and the spirit. This new birth is from our new mother, the Holy Church. The holy font (baptism basin) is the womb of that mother – the womb of the Church.

Beyond the sacraments of Baptism, throughout our life – that time that God gives us – we are granted many opportunities when we experience a re-awakening of our senses and our our being. Certainly this Lenten Journey is one such experience where we have put the ego on a shelf, where we have put many of our desires on hold so that we can understand ourselves and the spiritual being within, experiencing a new birth. The Christian has an opportunity to be born again and again and again. Baptism is the entry point to a new life in Christ, but it does not end when the water has dried off. In fact, it has only just begun. The Christian is challenged to find that newness. Being born again is really a revelation from above. It is an opportunity to be born anew, to a life that is full of love and understanding, not only of ourselves but for the people around us for our environment, certainly for the world.

The Christian is invited to a new life in Christ. That Christian journey is a long and beautiful one, but many times as life hits us with difficulties deviated from the path. During Lent we stand back and notice our deviation and have an opportunity to get back on that road. Lent is about recovering the lost ground and in concluding this Lenten Journey, on its final days of this walk, we understand that the born again experience is really something we need to welcome in our lives.

The challenges of life dull our senses to the beauty that is all around us. We need to welcome the experience as an essential part of the re-creative process of life. The word recreation, to “re- create” ourselves begins with communion with God. The Holy Eucharist is the new born again experience for every Christian. Because in the Holy Eucharist we not only walk with Christ, we talk with Christ, we taste Christ, we enjoy Christ. That is, we are born again into a new life that is born from above, that is born anew and we see that no matter how we express it there is a new generation and a new birth for each of us.

Here is an opportunity at the end of this Lenten period for us to walk out into a new life with Christ. It is a life that has been ordained by God, one that has been sanctioned by God, one that has been demanded by God! We walk with Christ. Plainly, we walk in the path of love, harmony and peace.

Let us pray:
Guide us O Lord our God and teach us to walk in your paths of righteousness. Keep our lives in peace and our ways pleasing in your sight. Guide us, your servants, on our earthly and heavenly course. May we say on the path of purity as directed by Your Only-Begotten Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who is the hope of our salvation, with whom you are blessed O Father Almighty, together with the life-giving and liberating Holy Spirit now and forever, to the end of the ages. Amen. 

Riding Ahead with No Fears

Next Step #291 – January 2, 2014

The New Year kicks off with a wild and fun ride through some fun places. Put on your head-gear, fasten your seat belt and drop the fear. In this episode Fr. Vazken takes the listener on a car ride with a clear windshield and a small rear view mirror. A great way to start the New Year and New Life as is the message of Theophany – GOD revealed among us. Not for the weak at heart (but the Rose Parade softens it up a bit).
Songs: Bambir: Auld Lang Syne
Rose Parade
George Skelton: Mandela & Deukmejian
IHS – Darfur Divesting
Engineered by Ken Nalik
Produced by Suzie Shatarevyan for epostle.net
Look for The Next Step on blubrry.com
Now on Stitcher Radio!