THE SUNDAY MESSENGER
April 7, 2019
Annunciation to the Virgin Mary
Badarak and Advent
How do we picture the return of Christ? Do we imagine a spectacle like none other, in which a trumpet is blown and Jesus comes out of the sky for all to see in his radiant glory? Do we include images of the end of the world from movies and literature in our beliefs? Or an interpretation of Scripture about the “Apocalypse” which includes an epic “Battle of Armageddon?” Perhaps there is another way of understanding the return of Christ that escapes our attention. In the book of Acts (1:10-11) we hear “two men” tell those watching Jesus ascend to heaven say,
Why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.
What does it mean for Jesus to come in the same way he went into heaven? Most, if not all, icons of the ascension of Christ portray his ascension ambiguously, in that one cannot tell whether he is ascending to heaven or coming to earth. As a result, he is depicted as continually present in the midst of his people. That is, we are already living under the kingship of Jesus Christ while we also await his coming again bringing with him the fullness of his Kingdom. In other words, the advent of Jesus is both anticipated and already upon us.
The promise of Christ’s return, his coming again as illustrated in the icons of his ascension, is exactly what takes place in Badarak, the profundity of which is incomprehensible. Just as Jesus ascended, he returns to us in Badarak within the midst of his people. In Badarak, we enter beyond time and space into God’s time, his eternal presence where this is no before or after and we joyfully share in the “marriage supper of the lamb” (Revelation 19:9), the feast at the end of the age, a meal that has not yet been eaten, and yet paradoxically, it is shared and eaten whenever we commune at the chalice. Badarak is not a dramatic retelling or an act of remembrance, but the coming of the Kingdom in our midst. As we sing in the hymn for the kiss of peace, “Christ in our midst has been revealed; he who is, God, is here seated,” we the Church are lifted up into the “Apocalypse,” into that which is hidden, that which is coming, the Advent of Jesus Christ himself, where we meet the Lord at his Second Coming (I Thessalonians 4:17).
Now that we have come to the end of the world, or rather Jesus Christ himself who is the End of all things has come to us, why would we stare into the sky waiting for his return like those in the first chapter of Acts? We are empowered and enlightened now, through baptism, to live as a “new creation” (II Corinthians 5:17). Through him we forgive not just our friends and family, but our enemies. We pray for those who persecute us. We give and expect nothing in return. When struck, we turn the other cheek. The lame walk, the blind receive their sight, bread and fish are multiplied, storms are calmed, and our sins are forgiven. And we are given the capacity to love and forgive like God! That is the version of the end of the world Jesus wants us to believe and live today.
By Dn. Eric Vozzy
TODAY’S BIBLE READINGS:
Colossians 2: 8-3:17 (pages 182-183) New Testament
Matthew 22: 34-23:39 (pages 23-24) New Testament – (Please follow the Armenian Reading in your Bible)
Isaiah 66: 1-24 (pages 741 – 742) Old Testament
REQUIEM SERVICES: Hokehankist today will be for:
– NAOMI KAPEGHIAN (3rd Anniversary of Her eternal life) requested by Albert Kapeghian.
“Now, my God, may your eyes be open and your ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place” (2 Chron 6:40). Please pray for Rev. Fr. Shnork Souin, Alice Charles, Pearl Jamgochian and Tyrome Thompson for a return to improved health and to feel the presence of God in their lives. Pray for those who were killed and injured in the massacre that took place in two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, and for their grieving families as well. Please continue to pray for our country and her leaders so that peace and kindness can prevail.
A RARE COINCIDENCE: If you are a regular churchgoer, you know that it is the practice of the Armenian Church to not distribute Holy Communion during Great Lent. And while today is a Lenten Sunday, it is also the Feast of the Annunciation to St. Mary, the Mother of God. This is a very unusual occurrence. But because a church feast has precedence over Lent, Holy Communion will be distributed during Badarak today (and, of course, the curtain will be open). We invite our faithful to respond to the invitation to “draw near to the Lord.” Our Church School students will also be receiving communion.
A NEW ROLE FOR OUR PASTOR: Tour Guide! While at Badarak, from time to time, your eyes may have wandered around our sanctuary and taken in the visual beauty of our stained-glass windows and paintings of saints and scenes and symbols of our faith. You may also have wondered who or what they represent. Today, Fr. Hakob will use his sermon time to give us an informal “tour” of the sacred space that is our light-filled sanctuary. Be sure to pick up a worksheet from the narthex to follow along with our “guide.”
COFFEE HOUR TODAY: Help us welcome Jeanmarie Papelian from the Armenia Tree Project, who will discuss the genesis of this organization that is celebrating its 25th anniversary. We’ll hear how it has dramatically changed the landscape of the country, not only with its beauty, but with its functional purpose.
ALTAR FLOWERS and CANDLES: Today are donated by Albert Kapeghian in loving memory of NAOMI KAPEGHIAN (3rd Anniversary of Her eternal life).
PARISH DIRECTORY: The 2019 update of the Parish Directory is available in the Narthex and the Parish Office. Please pick up a copy. If you find that your information is not what you expected, please submit corrections to email@example.com or call at 301-351-7669 and copy the Parish Office.
PALM SUNDAY BANQUET: Sunday, April 14, 2019, is ACYOA DAY. Immediately following Church Services, ACYOA is sponsoring a Banquet. Donations: Adults $25.00 – Children ages 7 to 12 yrs. $8.00 – Children 6 and under Free. No tickets will be sold at the door. For reservations, please send in your check by the Deadline: April 7, 2019.
SAVE THE DATE: Ladies, Save the date for our annual spring lunch, Saturday, May 11 at 11:30AM. We are going to the Denim American Bistro located in Cherry Hill, NJ. Reservations are limited. Check the flyer in the hall & contact Liz Barone.
LET’S PLAY JEOPARDY! Our 2019 Friday Night Lenten Series comes to an end on
April 12 with the ever-popular game show “Church Jeopardy.” Appearing for the first time as Jeopardy host will be local DJ and occasional Sunday school teacher Robbie Barone. Rumor has it that Dn. Albert Keshgegian has created some challenging categories designed to stump the most knowledgeable among us. So, whether you come to play or just cheer on your favorite team, this is a not-to-be-missed event. Worship begins at 6:30 followed by a Pot Luck Dinner. We ask our faithful to please contribute a favorite Lenten dish to our fellowship meal.
2019 Attendance: Plate/Candle Collection:
3 – 82 people $290.00
10 – 70 people $340.00
17 – 94 people $427.00
24 – 122 people $669.00
3 – 91 people $510.00
10 – 94 people $529.00
17 – 80 people $327.00
24 – 83 people $388.00
31 – 74 people $447.00
Weekly Expenses: $6,000.00
CHURCH CALENDAR (please mark your calendars)
Sunday April 7th: A “tour” of the sanctuary guided by Fr. Hakob
Sunday April 14th: Palm Sunday: ACYOA Day/ Palm Sunday Banquet
Thursday April 18th: Holy Thursday: Washing of the Feet Service and Vigil
Friday April 19th: Holy Friday Burial Service
Saturday April 20th: Easter Eve Liturgy / Community Fellowship Meal
Sunday April 21st: Easter Sunday
Saturday May 11th: Mother’s Day Luncheon
Sunday May 19th: Church School Closing
Sunday June 2nd: Foods of Armenia
Anyone who wishes to request any Requiem Services MUST inform the office by 1:30pm Wednesday the week before. If you also want to sponsor the Fellowship Hour you MUST call Merle Santerian at 215-947-3777.
FAR’s GTech Course Helps Youth Find Employment in IT – Thanks to one of FAR’s Gyumri Information Technology Center (GTech) recent projects, more promising young people have secured jobs at some of Armenia’s leading IT companies. Called “Boosting Technological Developments,” it aims to support development of the region through skills enrichment of young and vulnerable populations. About 80 students can participate at a time in the course, which has a corresponding internship. Most who complete it have already found employment. Nvard Martirosyan, 23, was studying finance when she got interested in programming and heard about a new GTech course. She interned at Chessify and now works there as an IOS programmer. To learn more about GTech, go to: https://farusa.org/2019/03/22/gtech-tech-development-project-positively-impacts-development-and-innovation-in-it/ To support programs like GTech, go to: : https://farusa.org/donate/
Using the Pew Book: In order to enrich understanding of the Divine Liturgy, we encourage our faithful to follow along in the large two-part Pew Book. Part One includes the classical Armenian used in the Liturgy; the facing page is the translation in modern Western Armenian. Part Two contains the transliteration of the classical Armenian; the right-hand page has the English translation. This Pew Book includes the prayers of the celebrant usually offered inaudibly. The prayers offered aloud are indicated in boldface type.
THE NICENE CREED/ HAVADAMK – This is the Profession of our Faith which is recited every Sunday moments after the Gospel is read from the altar. Sometimes it is sung, but more often it is recited by the Deacons and/or the Choir. We invite you to affirm your own “Profession of Faith” by reciting along with us. God longs for all of us to express our faith and devotion to Him.
THE KISS OF PEACE: After the gifts of the Eucharist are brought to the Altar Table, the deacon proclaims, “Greet one another with a holy kiss.” The person giving the greetings says, Kristos ee mech mer Haydnetsav – Christ is revealed amongst us. The recipient would respond, Orhnial eh Haydnootiunun Kristosee – Blessed is the revelation of Christ.
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WE ASK THAT EVERYONE KINDLY TURN OFF ALL CELL PHONES and all other such electronic devices prior to entering the sanctuary out of respect for the sanctity of our services.