Tag Archive for: Time

Timing is Everything

Armodoxy for Today: Timing is Everything

A few years back, as we rounded the corner on the last leg of a 39-mile walk, we saw the finish line glistening like an oasis, waiting in anticipation of our arrival, with cool water and a row of electric foot massagers and chairs. We walked through the streets, hills and coastal area of Santa Barbara for two days while participating in the 39-mile walk to end breast cancer sponsored by Avon. My sister is a survivor and while throughout my ministry as a priest I have shared prayers and hugs with several cancer patients and their families, when cancer hits close to home the finality of life – time – hits you in a different manner. You remember childhood experiences, travel down the timeline of life, and realize that the line does end at some point.

We organized a small group of walkers from our church under the name “In Her Shoes” and set off to join those making a difference in the fight against this ugly killer. We walked 26 miles on day one and 13 miles the next day to the finish line, where an assortment of “help” awaited, from water, music and family members who made sure we saw that a car was waiting to take us back home.

The experience is a memorable one and spiritually uplifting. Avon did a nice job of organizing the walk, with attention paid to detail. Over four hundred of us walked the route. Although there are so many moments that make the experience magical and memorable, it was on that last stretch that I heard the theory of time relativity in a manner I can’t forget.

The end was a half a block away, and volunteers were passing out flyers to the walkers inviting us to next year’s walk. A lady next to me took the flyer, looked at it and confessed, “This is just like childbirth. During the excruciating pain of labor, every woman swears they will never do this again! But after the baby has come, after a few weeks, or months, the possibility of another baby becomes more and more doable.”

Timing is everything, they say. Whether having another baby or stretching the limits of your physical abilities, the decision to do so depends on timing. We ended up walking in several of these annual walks raising millions of dollars for cancer research. And then, in 2018, Avon ended the program.

In Scripture, there are a popular set of verses that are quoted at events marked by time. From Ecclesiastes, chapter 3, we are told, “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven.” While Hallmark has made its profit off these verses, people with ill intentions have used these phrases to justify wars and senseless acts of killing. A prophet does not predict the future, rather he or she speaks to the times.

Today, we meditate upon these verses. Listen carefully to what is being said. These words are merely an observation of our reality, they are not meant as a permission to hurt, kill or destroy. This then is a reading of Ecclesiastes, chapter 3, verses observing the reality around us.

To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven.
A time to be born,
And a time to die;
A time to plant,
And a time to pluck what is planted;
A time to kill,
And a time to heal;
A time to break down,
And a time to build up;
A time to weep,
And a time to laugh;
A time to mourn,
And a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones,
And a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace,
And a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to gain,
And a time to lose;
A time to keep,
And a time to throw away;
A time to tear,
And a time to sew;
A time to keep silence,
And a time to speak;
A time to love,
And a time to hate;
A time of war,
And a time of peace.

Eternity at Datev

Roots of Armodoxy: Datev

Albert Einstein’s E=mc2 is one of the most recognized scientific notations by non-scientists. At most, people know it has something to do with time and space, though the mechanics escapes them. At the least, people know it is connected to Einstein and the theory of relativity. Around the same time Einstein was putting together the formulas for the general theory of realtify, American write, Henry Van Dyke was stating the relativity of time in these terms, “Time is too slow for those who wait, too swift for those who fear, too long for those who grieve, too short for those who rejoice, but for those who love, time is eternity.” That’s right, time is relative. It moves according to the vantage point of the observer.

At the end of time is eternity. It is difficult to accept and impossible to comprehend. Eternity exists in the absence of time, and as such is goes counter to all of our natural experiences. We may use words and phrases such as forever-and-ever but they describe time, not eternity. One such place where we come close to touching eternity, however, is at the monastery of Datev* or Datevivank. It is found in the Syunik Province in southeastern Armenia. Nestled in the forests, atop a hill, the Monastery is a marvel of Armenian architecture. Stone-placed-upon-stone, the shell of the church holds within it a very sacred space where the energy is so strong that time seems to be bent. While at Datevivank, you can experience eternity because time is absent. Though the structure itself is finite, inside you lose yourself to the marvel of faith that has constructed this shrine.

Datev is the reason why people look up when they think of heaven or eternity. On this hilltop some of the greats of the Armenian Church have lived and been inspired, including St. Gregory of Datev (14th century) who is entombed inside the sanctuary. He was a theologian and philosopher whose influence on the church is felt to this very day. During the early part of the 20th century, as the Genocide was coming to an end, the Datev Monastery was the inspiration and backdrop for greats such as Garegin Njteh as he chartered out the course for a new and independent Armenia, with his priorities expressed in a trilogy of ideas, God, the Nation and the Fatherland.

As we were visiting this bit of heaven on earth, a service uniting heaven and earth was taking place. The head of the monastery, Fr. Michael was administering the sacrament of baptism on a young boy of nine or 10 years of age. The boy’s godfather was a worker from one of the local villages. Those in attendance to witness the Christening were the boy’s immediate family and us, a group of pilgrims open to the blessing that may come our way.

Fr. Michael baptized and confirmed the boy with holy Miuron and then offered a prayer of thanksgiving, “We thank you Lord for replenishing your Church with this new servant of yours.” That word, “Replenishing” was the key to eternity. Here on this high peak, inside this monastery, in the witness of simple people, a miracle was taking place. Eternity was taking form; the continuity of space and time unfolded in our presence. At Datev we may not have comprehended eternity, but we did understand that eternity is not something to come but is in our midst right now. Henry David Thoreau expresses it concisely, “You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment.”

Fr. Michael turned to us and gave us a blessing. He is a simple monk of the Armenian Church who understands the power of uniting us with eternity. For those moments at Datev, we saw and were united to the vastness of eternity, and with the certainty of the continuity of life.

We pray today, “Heavenly Father, we say that to You belong the Kingdom of Eternity. May we be in your Divine presence, in that eternity, now, as well as forever. Amen.”

* The Armenian name Տաթեւ, maybe be transliterated into Latin characters as Datev or at Tatev.

Cover Photo: Fr. Vazken 2023

Order of Time

Next Step #764 – February 2, 2023 – Groundhog Day, biological times, smells, and rhythm of our lives, how the Church calendar brings discipline to that beat. Armenian Christians under attack in Jerusalem and St. Sarkis, more than a captain and commander, a witness to Jesus Christ. Candlemas, Mid-winter, and 40 days after Christmas.
Daily Messages “Armodoxy for Today”
Groundhog Day 2023
Armenias attacked in Jerusalem
Dog in Mid-Winter, Jethro Tull
Cover: Rhythm of Time, 2023 Fr. Vazken Movsesian
Produced by Suzie Shatarevyan for http://Epostle.net
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Motherhood & Apple Pie in July

Next Step #631: If the blind can find their sight, the bereaved can find their dead. Themes of freedom and independence are in focus for this audio blog. The Art of Connecting the Dots. Exploring the 4th dimension even further – where are dead in Christ in space-time? Raw thoughts after waking up this day.
Louis Armstrong La Vie En Rose 
Next Step #630 – The Forgotten Fourth Dimension
In His Shoes a Ministry of the Western Diocese
New formula for dog years 
Cover: Three Red Apples / pickpik.com
Technical Director: Ken Nalik
Produced by Suzie Shatarevyan for InHisShoes.org
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Armodoxy: You Say You Want a Revolution?

Next Step #121 – September 30, 2010

Defining the self within the structure of Armenian Orthodoxy as children of the 21st Century. “Validating” the new generation of Armodoxy as the last link in a chain, beginning with Time, with the center Golden Link Christ and an open end for what’s to come. A tribute to John Lennon as his 70th birthday approaches- the Revolution of the Sixties and WWJS: What would Jesus sing? Avoiding the pitfalls of traditionalism by not giving too much credibility to past at the cost of discounting the present.
Globalization and the Armenian Church http://www.vimeo.com/15291175
Song: “11 11” by Rodrigo y Gabriela  http://www.rodgab.com/
Ani’s Bubbles: The Golden House http://scrubsmag.com/nursing-theories-love-em-or-leave-em/
Produced by Suzie Shatarevyan for epostle.net

updated 041821 mm