Tag Archive for: Transfiguration

Did You Notice This?

Next Step #778 – July 16, 2023 – A look at the Transfiguration and a look at what we miss. Did you notice? The story of Joseph and Mary’s son. Not who you may think. Actually Joseph and Mary are not who you think. Personal reflections.
Basement Tapes with Sousanna Pogosian
Joseph & Mary’s Son
Armen Movsisyan Unplugged
Produced by Suzie Shatarevyan for http://Epostle.net
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Angels Ignored

Roots of Armodoxy: Angels Ignored

The Transfiguration of Jesus Christ is recorded by the evangelists Matthew (17:1–8), Mark (9:2–8), and Luke (9:28–36). This week we’ve been looking at different angels – messengers and how they communicate with us – whether through songs, through children or even through stone. Yesterday we started a two-part series about “Angels Unheard,” today, in part 2, we’ll label the action as messages ignored.

The Transfiguration takes place with Jesus retreating to a Mountain with three of his disciples, Peter, John and James. There, as he prayed, he is transfigured. “…His Face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning.” (Luke 9:29) Two historical figures – Moses and Elijah, the symbols of the law and the prophets – appear “in glorious splendor, talking with Jesus.” A voice from above is heard “This is my beloved Son, listen to him.”

Peter turns to Jesus and says on behalf of his disciple-brothers, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. I will put up three tents, one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.”

Certainly, under any other circumstance, you’d have to compliment Peter’s initiative and thoughtfulness to look after the comfort of the guests. But today? Jesus is radiating the Divine Light! He’s shining! For this moment of singularity, we humans are given a glimpse of the Eternal Presence, of the Light that Shines in the Darkness, at the Transfigured Christ! And his response? “Let us make three tents for you!” A message was being conveyed but it was ignored, whether intentional or not is secondary to the fact that he was consumed by worldly interests in the face of this most auspicious event moment.

Actually, Peter’s response to this event was not too much different to ours today. Let me go forward and back up a bit. When St. Gregory the Illuminator and King Dirtad converted Armenia to Christianity, they replaced many of the pagan holidays with Christian holidays. The celebration known Vartavar, dedicated to the pagan goddess Asdghik, was a water festival. The feast of Transfiguration was assigned to this day. The water component was kept as a reminder of each personal rebirth through the font of Baptism. A pilgrimage to the site of one’s baptism gave an opportunity for reflect on the joy on Christian life.

There is no doubt that being splashed by water on a hot summer day is refreshing and fun. Today, many churches celebrate Vartavar with splashes and soaks. In fact, the word Transfiguration is often not even mentioned. The official name of the feast in the Armenian Church is Aylakerputiun. Vartavar refers to the pagan holiday, or in word, it is Peter’s tent. It’s missing the point. It’s being blinded by the seeming comforts of this world that we miss the awesome beauty and glory that has been built into the universe since the beginning of time.

These messages are sent to us daily – several times during a day – but, intentionally or not, we lose sight of the beauty. How many flowers and trees did we pass by today on our walk or drive? So many that familiarity has bred contempt and we pass by without standing in awe that each of these are the miracle of seedlings, soil and sun. How often have we ignored a child’s plea for attention, only to chase after some insignificant matter? When have we truly remarked at the miracle of life, of a single heart beating for 20, 40, 80 or 100 years? And to think, every night the stars, the galaxies, the universe comes out on display, and we walk in other directions until the morning light makes them all vanish.

The Transfiguration of Jesus Christ is a reminder of the awesome glory of God that shines, that radiates all around us. The Christ-light is there, waiting for our reaction. We can stand in awe of a sunset or put up sunglasses or pull up an umbrella, or come inside and turn on the light. Christ was Transformed. The law and the prophets had gathered around him. The voice of the Father is heard. Peter and the disciples had a choice on how to react as do we every day.

Let us pray, Lord Jesus Christ, when you transfigured and radiated the Light which came to us from the beginning of Time, you gave us yet another opportunity to connect to eternity. Guide me to search out those glimpses of the Light amidst the darkness that seems to consume my thought and my paths. May your presence guide my life so that I may celebrate the glimpses of beauty and joy in my life. Amen.

Angels Unheard

Roots of Armodoxy: Angels unheard

From the angels at Geghart, to the stone angels of the khatchkars, to the baby angel of Nzhdeh, this week we have been looking at messengers who spoke and continue to speak to us. It is a natural lead-in to the Transfiguration, or what is referred to as Vartevar in Armenian. And if you think you’ve heard it before, you’ll be surprised to hear (or not hear) the angels in this story. This is part one of two.

The Transfiguration event is recorded in the three synoptic Gospels. (Matthew 17:1–8, Mark 9:2–8, Luke 9:28–36) Taking a look at St. Matthew’s account we read, “… Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.

Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.”

While he was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!”

When the disciples heard this, they fell facedown to the ground, terrified. But Jesus came and touched them. “Get up,” he said. “Don’t be afraid.” When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus.

Jesus was transfigured before this small audience. The change in his appearance is described in terms of light. “His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light.” For this brief moment Jesus was radiating the Divine Light.
In the Biblical account of Creation (Genesis 1) it is noteworthy that God starts the process by saying, “Let there be Light.” This takes place two days prior to the creation of the stars and the sun. In other words, according to this account, the first day of Creation is marked by a Light that is not defined by the sun or any astronomical body. This is the Divine Light, one that shines bright – dazzling and pure.

During the last several decades modern science and medicine have advanced to the point of prolonging life even past a near-death experience. If you listen to the people who have had these near-death episodes, when they are revived or resuscitated, 98% of them return to life telling of a bright light that is not measured in lumens but by temperature: “A warm light,” they say. Could it be that this is glance and a feel of the Divine Light? Of course, it is not my place to comment on the two percent that don’t experience the light, but in the case of the Transfiguration, the three disciples had this experience.
And appearing with Jesus are two others, Elijah, the symbol of the prophets and Moses, the symbol of the law. In between the prophets and the law stands Jesus radiating the Divine Light. The words of the prophets were unheeded, and the law was ignored, hence the necessity to reveal “My beloved Son” as the voice of God is heard.

But it is the voice of the angel that is unheard. Tomorrow, we continue by finding the obvious that goes undetected, but not so in Armodoxy. Listen in.

Today we pray a prayer written for the Transfiguration, “Lord Jesus, we pray for those who are now with you in your eternal glory. As we rejoice in the fellowship of those who now see the fullness of your glory, be with us in our journey and transform our lives with the promise that you will grant us, with them, a share in your eternal kingdom. Amen.

 Cover: Transfiguration of Jesus Christ, Freer Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.

Emptiness under the Sun

Next Step #633: Ecclesiastes shares a message of emptiness while missing the “novelty” of Christ. Finding strength by connecting to the Light from Beginning. Demonstration: Armenian heard on another planet? “Armenopoly” reviewed: fun, learn and enjoy. Looking beyond what you thought was faith and finding the Greater power within: Follow up on the Transfiguration.
Babajanian Dance of Vagharshabat, Anait Nersisian
Armenia condemns Azerbaijan attacks
Harry Hagopian: Hagia Sophia: mosque, cathedral or museum?
Fr. Vazken’s Transfiguration Sermon
Leveraging Love
NS#630 – The forgotten 4th Dimension
NS#632 – Missing the Point
Novel prayer-life on Western Diocese FB page
Expansion of Fr. Vazken’s Ministry
Cover: Sun-lighted Fr. Vazken 2005
Technical Director: Ken Nalik
Produced by Suzie Shatarevyan for InHisShoes.org
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Hitting the Mark but Missing the Point

Next Step #632: At Vartavar the story of the Transfiguration is washed up. Put into perspective, there is an opportunity for Peace for the world, but we miss the point and therefore we lose that opportunity. Fr. Vazken takes you on this journey with some challenges along the way. Light: the beginning of the Universe, revealed today.
Tigran Hamasyan – The Call Within
Vardavar (2013)
The Transfiguration narrative
Catholicos Karekin II: Peace and Harmony
Kindergarten – Diocese of Tavush
Armenia/Azeri Fighting today
This week’s WD-168
The Transfiguration – Armenian Christianity Today
Cover: Cut pencil; Pikrepo
Technical Director: Ken Nalik
Produced by Suzie Shatarevyan for InHisShoes.org
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Usurped again: Light & Water

Next Step #477: Definitions for Transfiguration and Vartavar provide the groundwork for a pre-creative experience in faith. Light and water are the elements of these feasts, coming together. Elijah & Moses for sure, but how about Enoch? Only in the Eternal Jerusalem. Other – “Focused Vision” 15 years later. Borrowing from Marketting 101 – Finding the “sale” 24/7, because “Everything must go!”
“Vardavar in the Mountains” by the Tigran Hamasyan
Armenian Genocide & The Problem of Evil by Fr. Vazken Movsesian
Transfiguration in the Bible: Matthew 17:2, Mark 9:2–3, Luke 9:28–36
Cover: Man, Beach, Landscape, Light – Licensed under CC BY 2.0
Engineered by Ken Nalik
Produced by Suzie Shatarevyan for InHisShoes.org
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Bridges, Tents & Rivers

Next Step #266 – July 11, 2013 

From Arizona – the “hair cut” dilemma (almost) – connecting dots with a River Runs through it. After analysis, doing it. The Transfiguration – Did you miss the point? You’ll be surprised who else did! A mellow look at some difficult ideas.
Song – “Noubar, Noubar” by Element Band
Inside the Pomegranate
Sun Sash – http://sunsash.blogspot.com/2013/07/sun-sash-late.html
Armodoxy Blog: http://armodoxy.blogspot.com/
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Missing the Point – Need a Tent?

Next Step #214 – July 12, 2012

At the Transfiguration Peter loses sight of the celebration and asks the mundane. A look at Kazantzakis’ Last Temptation of Christ, and some other bothersome questions: why death? why cancer? why children die? Reconnecting with the past and finding relevance. A trip up to the Sugar Pine. More on the Higgs Boson – and not losing the point at the Transfiguration.
Ani’s Bubbles: Hope – http://bacheegsandlove.blogspot.com/
Song: Uzundara
Thoughts on Last Temptation
Why you should care about the God particle (Higgs boson)
Produced by Suzie Shatarevyan for epostle.net
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The Center Light is Greater than the Law & the Prophets

Next Step #164 – July 28, 2011

The elements of the Transfiguration of the Lord are looked at through the lens of Armenian Orthodoxy. Making sense of the water feast of Vartevar. Part 2 of 2 on the theme – understanding the CENTER figure as between Law and Prophet. (Part 1 – see NS episode #163) Seeking validity for ourselves from non-Christian sources. Summer readings and the fallacy in catch-up mentality. The Gospel of St. Matthew, chapter 17 as the platform for this weekend.
Song: “Arev, Arev” by Mariam Matossian
Ani’s Bubbles “Little Wave”
Produced by Suzie Shatarevyan for epostle.net
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Transfiguring into Light

Next Step #163 – July 21, 2011

Understanding Light as a function of temperature and not lumens. Fr. Vazken takes the listener on a journey to the Beginning, when light meant more than a sun ray, cf. “I am the Light of the World” – Jesus Christ. This is the first of a two-part podcast that explores the story of the Transfiguration (Gospel of St. Matthew, chapter 17)  in terms of light and focus. Comments on Exorcism from “Beyond Belief” and Fr. Albert (Jerry Springer with a collar?) – a mirror of society’s needs and wants. An end to the Space Shuttle Program comes as the HP-G60 is retired from the Next Step.
Song: Sona Shaboyan “Yes mi garib biulbiuli bes
Ani’s Bubbles: “Peace of Mind”
Produced by Suzie Shatarevyan for epostle.net
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