The Sunday Messenger
July 16, 2023
Feast of the Transfiguration of Our Lord
Scripture and Feast Day Notes
From Today’s Readings
Wisdom 7:25-8:4 Solomon extols the virtues of wisdom, having sought her from his youth: she is a powerful source of renewal, prevails against evil, and draws us to friendship with God since “God loves nothing so much as the person who loves wisdom.” (v. 28) Discuss/reflect: In 1 Kings 3: 1-15, God asks Solomon what he wants most. Rather than long life or wealth, he asks for wisdom, which in Hebrew is literally “a listening heart.” How might such a heart help you?
Zechariah 14: 16-21 Declaring that a day is coming when the Lord will be king over the whole earth, the prophet foresees that all — even former enemies of the faith — will be called to Jerusalem on the Feast of the Tabernacles to celebrate and worship him as the Lord Almighty. Discuss/reflect: “Holy to the Lord” will be inscribed on the horses’ bells and on cooking pots (v.20) on that day. What parts of your life do you feel are inscribed to the Lord?
1 John 1:1-7 John proclaims the truth of Jesus Christ based on all he has seen, heard, and touched so that others “may have fellowship with us” (v. 3) and in turn with God. God is light and walking in that light means living by the truth and loving God and one another. Discuss/reflect: In what ways have you, like John, “seen,” “heard,” and “touched” Jesus?
Matthew 16:13-17:13 This rich account, worthy of a long summation, begins with the important conversation at Caesarea Philippi when Jesus asks “Who do people say I am?” After hearing the answers (John the Baptist, a prophet), he asks “and who do you say I am?” To which Peter famously replies “You are the Christ, the Son of God.” In the next account, Jesus predicts his death and counsels that anyone who follows him must take up his cross as well for “those who want to save their life will lose it.” Finally, we read the account of Jesus’ transfiguration.
Today is the Feast of the Transfiguration
The Transfiguration, one of the five major feasts of the Armenian Church, marks the extraordinary occasion Jesus took his three closest disciples, Peter, James, and John, up to Mt. Tabor where he was “transfigured,” appearing radiant. Moses and Elijah appeared at his side, symbols of the Law and Prophecy which Jesus had come to fulfill. A voice from heaven was heard saying: “This is my beloved Son.”
Some customs of an ancient Armenian pagan festival for the goddess Asdghig are still associated with this feast, such as decorating the church with roses (and therefore the Feast’s name Vartavar; it is more formally called Aylagerbootyoon or Baydzaragerbootyoon) and spraying one another with water. Reflection: Only in Matthew, do we learn the disciples’ reaction to this miracle: fear and awe, calmed by Jesus’ touch. (17:6-7) Think of a time when you were afraid, anxious, or confused. Were you aware of Jesus’ presence? Next time you feel this way, prayerfully dwell on the Lord’s radiant transfiguration
Coffee Hour – During coffee hour fellowship this Sunday, our guest, Daiana Markarian will briefly discuss her involvement with the Drexel Women Empowerment and Armenian Food Bank Charitable Foundation which is seeking donations of personal and feminine hygiene products for women in Artsakh since the months-long blockade has created a great hardship for them. Please consider bringing to church some of these necessary items, such as: deodorant, soap or body wash, combs/brushes, wet wipes, cotton swabs, tissues, bandages, shampoo & conditioner. Please put your donations in the container in the lobby. Collection of items will continue for three Sundays: July 16, 23 & 30.
Share Your Joy – Do you like to sing? Our Badarak is made more beautiful by the voices who raise it up, be it from the pews or from the choir. To help us build our strength in sound, we would love to invite you to join us in the choir and share your voice! For any questions, please text Choir Director, Karinné Andonian @ 609-760-4993 or just come to the front pews and we will hand you a book!
Far Update: The Fund for Armenian Relief’s Children’s Center desperately needs to renovate the bedrooms and replace decrepit windows to ensure vulnerable kids have decent living conditions. The Center safeguards children who are victims of abuse, abandonment and neglect. Since 2000, more than 11,000 children have been helped by them. If this touches your heart, please support their efforts by going to Ayo (weareayo.org)
Attic Treasures – Bazaar 2023: Please do not bring your Attic Treasures to the church until September 15th. While we appreciate the donations, we ask you to store them at your homes as we do not have a storage area. Thank you.
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 greeting 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.
Feast of the Transfiguration of our Lord
Following Coffee Hour, we will again have a Fire Truck to enjoy the fun of water games of Vartavar. Bring your children and water toys.
July 30 – Final day for donations for the women in Armenia
July 30 – Participants depart for Pilgrimage to Armenia
August 13 – Feast of the Assumption of the Holy Mother-Of-God (Grapes Blessing)
September 17 – Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross
September 21 – Armenian Independence Day
October 1 – Feast of the Holy Cross of Varak