Tag Archive for: preparation

Advent 5-50: Hunger for Righteousness

Advent Day 5 of 50: Hunger

Along with the Thanksgiving celebration in America comes the tradition of packing it in with a large meal, symbolic of the first Thanksgiving meal shared by the pilgrims in the New World. And so, perhaps hunger is the last thing you’d expect to hear today, but Jesus was always one to give us the unexpected, so we follow suit.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled,” says Jesus (Matthew 5: 6) as part of the preface to his essential teachings in the Sermon on the Mount. Hunger is a physiological experience. The body, in its interest in self-preservation, signals to the brain that it’s time to eat. Hunger needs to be satisfied for the rest of the body to continue to function.

It is no different in the spiritual realm. When the emptiness which comes from meaningless pursuits sends a signal to the brain, our spiritual appetite is engaged.

We know that in the case of physical hunger the meal can vary. Some foods will give a quick fix or satisfaction, while others can be more sustaining. It is no different in the spiritual realm. There are meals, like the ones that oblige our sweet tooth, a candy bar or a pie, that will provide quick satisfaction, but leave us hungry for sustenance. Here, Jesus points to the menu item: Righteousness. Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness will be filled.

Righteousness is not an abstract or a subjective concept. Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth and the life.” Remember, that we are on a journey through Advent. We are in preparation for the revelation of righteousness that will not leave us hungry. Today, we feel hunger and also have the guarantee that we will be filled. Patience is in order for our preparation.

Let us pray from the Psalms (37)

Do not fret because of those who are evil, or be envious of those who do wrong; for like the grass they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away. Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun. Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil. For those who are evil will be destroyed, but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land. A little while, and the wicked will be no more; though you look for them, they will not be found. But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy peace and prosperity.

Cover: Luna & Gregory Beylerian for Epostle.net

Advent 50: Christ in Christmas

Advent 50: The Christ in Christmas

Have you woken up on December 26th wondering, where did Christmas go? The Christmas carols have stopped playing and the stores are in “Return” mode.

Every year we know that Christmas must be more than the hustle and bustle that drives us to drive the economy. We all know that there is a Christ in Christmas. And if we’re lucky, we have a chance to read a story, watch a movie, or contemplate a carol that takes us away in a manager, where there’s no crib for baby Jesus’ head. But at the end of it all, have we found that Christ in Christmas?

The Advent Season is a time of preparation for Christmas. On Christmas day, we in the Armenian Church proclaim, Christos dzunav yev haytnetsav = “Christ is born and revealed.” Often those words are said mechanically, without a thought about the full impact those words should have on our lives. What does it mean that Christ is born? Or revealed? If the Creator of the Universe, if the One who gave you breath is in our midst, would we give him a courteous node, or would our shock and awe overwhelm us to the point of trembling? For two thousand years people have been questioning the meaning of Christ and answering in ways that have given them spiritual satisfaction or unworldly torment.

The Advent Season in the Armenian Church is 50 days. It culminates on Christmas, January 6. We call this day Theophany which means the Revelation of God. Today I invite you to join me on the journey of advent through the next 50 days. We will be going through the essential teachings of Jesus which He Himself expressed in the Sermon on the Mount. I give you this guarantee, follow the 50-day plan, and Christmas will have new meaning for you this year. You’ll discover the Christ that’s in Christmas. The saying, “Christ is born and revealed” will not be a postcard imprint but something that impacts your life on Christmas and on the 364 days after.

I look forward to having you with us for this journey. For today, accept the challenge of making this Christmas season the one in which you move from Christmas the holiday to Christmas, the Christ within us.

We begin today with a simple prayer, Lord our God, Jesus Christ, you are the center of my life. You have defined time for humanity, as we calculate our dates before Your Revelation and in the Year of our Lord. Yet with all the wonders that we know belong to you, we focus on the worldly glitter and miss the fire with which you light our hearts.  May this Advent Season be one of growth for me and my family. May we be challenged to find you in the true Christmas celebration which adorns our lives. Amen.

John the Baptist & Forerunner

Armodoxy for Today: John the Baptistn

The third person in the Nativity narratives is St. John the Baptist. In the Armenian Church he is celebrated as the one who baptized Jesus, (=M’grdich) and as the foreunner (=nakha-garabed). About a week after the Theophany, the Armenian Church celebrates the birth of St. John the Baptist and Forerunner to Jesus Christ.

“John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea,” writes the evangelist St. Matthew (chapter 3). John’s message was simply, “‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!’ For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying: “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; make His paths straight.’”

The forerunner prepares the road for the one who is to come, and so John the Baptist, was actively preparing the people for the Revolution that was soon to come, that is, for Jesus Christ. I use the word “Revolution” intentionally, to draw attention to the uniqueness and newness/freshness of Jesus’ message. It was about to explode the society and all the conventions of the religious community. If it were not revolutionary, there would be no need for a forerunner. There is no need to prepare people to maintain the status quo.

The evangelist further describes John’s appearance as being “Clothed in camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey.” It is important to note that this is one of the rare occasions in the Gospels that someone’s appearance is described. John was being compared to the Prophet Elijah who was, “A hairy man wearing a leather belt around his waist.” (2Kings 1:8) According to the tradition, Elijah was a forerunner to the coming of the Lord (See Malachi 4:5) and the connection between John and Elijah is made in several instances in the New Testament.

John the Baptist was the first to recognize Jesus, while still in the womb. His mother Elizabeth was a kinsman to Jesus’ mother Mary. When the two pregnant cousins met, John “Leapt in his mother’s womb” (Luke 1:41), thus he became the first to recognize Jesus, while still in utero.

This is our take-away from the Forerunner John: he knew where he stood in the salvific process. He was in complete acceptance of his position as forerunner to the Lord. In today’s terms, he knew he was the opening act to the main event. He did not try to overshadow Jesus, instead backed off and said, “A man can receive nothing unless it has been given to him from heaven. You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ,’ but, ‘I have been sent before Him.’ He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore, this joy of mine is fulfilled. He must increase, but I must decrease.” (Luke 1)

Let us pray, “Lord our God, Jesus Christ, who came to the River Jordan to be baptize by John. May my soul be humbled as I stand in your presence. May I find my calling in your service. May the example of John the Forerunner remind me to always seek the Glory of God and not my own. Amen.

Advent Cue

Armodoxy for Today – Advent
Advent Cue

Advent, means “coming.” The coming of the Lord was foretold centuries before his birth. His coming was announced by the angel of the Lord, “I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. (Luke 2:10-11). And for the last two thousand years we celebrate his coming as the Nativity, as the Revelation of God and of course, as Christmas.

Christmas is much more than the celebration we know of today. To better appreciate the celebration of Christmas, the Church has set up a period of preparation, which uses the name “Advent.” In other words, in preparing for Christmas, we focus on Christ’s coming to us in Bethlehem 2000 years ago, and into our lives today.

The first Sunday of Advent with its unique Gospel reading sets the pace and cues up the general tone for the days ahead. We find this parable which Jesus spoke in the Gospel of St. Luke (12)

“The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully. And he thought within himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?’ So he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.  But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’ So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”

This then is the starting point of the Advent journey. If necessary, read the parable again, paying attention to the words of the man. This is the starting point of our Advent Journey. We return tomorrow to continue.

Lenten Dream Therapy

Next Step #611: Mathematics, the language of God, reason and the stretch to resurrection, part of this pre-Lenten preparation. Mystery, mysticism, reason and today’s date 2/20/2020. Hidden mission: helping humans experience the Divine; no parlor tricks here. Worry, anxiety, fears are targeted during Lent. A look at Andy Warhol’s “Sleep.” Lent: 40 days to de-stress and find the rest for harmony and peace.
Kreen-Akrore by Paul McCartney
Fr. Vazken on Vartanants
Lenten Journey by Fr. Vazken
Lenten “Bland” Page
40 Vegan Recipes (another bland page)
Moon occults Mars
Andy Warhol’s Sleep wiki
This week’s WD168
Ana Calhoun: Gen-X Women and Sleep
Reclaim Etchmiadzin – March 13-15, 2020
Engineered by Ken Nalik
Produced by Suzie Shatarevyan for InHisShoes.org
Look for The Next Step on blubrry.com
Listen via Stitcher Radio on demand! 

Advent Preparedness

Next Step #548: Preparedness for the Advent Season. Finding the Christ-wants in Scriptures (Luke 14) and the “vehance” factor. Expressing good on the unpleasant: Words that put Hallmark to shame. Celebrations and Funerals: More reflections in post-funeral days. Anecdote on Bishop Asoghig Ghazarian of Iraq.
Good King Wenceslas by Loreena McKennitt
Eulogy for Mamajan
Anne Movsesian Memorial Video
Next Step #547 “Stingless
Luke 14
Remarks at George H.W. Bush Funeral
California Driving #50
Cover: Bird of Paradise Flowering, Fr. Vazken 2018
Technical Adviser: Ken Nalik
Produced by Suzie Shatarevyan for InHisShoes.org
Subscribe to In His Shoes » Next Step with Fr. Vazken by Email
Look for The Next Step on blubrry.com
Listen via Stitcher Radio on demand!

Look Out 2012, It’s 2010!

Next Step #88 – February 11, 2010

Bring it all together BEFORE Lent, in PREPARATION of Lent, to GET THROUGH Lent. We go pre-Mayan Calendar and find the tools for life: Looking at Valentine and Vartanantz, Ghevont, Poon Paregentan, Fat Sunday, Diaruntarach, Candlemas, Easter and even Chinese New Year – this is the year that it all comes together. Don’t delay ’til 2012 to get in on the fun today!
Lenten Resources: Your Lenten Experience; Let’s Give it up for Lent;
Song: Ghapama by Zulal;
Ani’s Bubbles: The Attacking Butterfly;
Produced by Suzie Shatarevyan for ePostle.net

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