THE SUNDAY MESSENGER
July 2, 2023
Fifth Sunday After Pentecost
Scripture and Feast Day Notes
From Today’s Readings
Isaiah 2:5-11 Isaiah continues to unfold God’s warning that the people of Judah and Jerusalem have abandoned him for meaningless abundance and idols. Their treasure is no longer their Lord, but rather gold and silver, horses and chariots. God, however, will bring down the arrogant. In the last days “the Lord alone will be exalted.” (v.11) Discuss/reflect: What are your precious treasures and idols (2:7-8)? Use your answers to pray a confessional prayer and ask to be freed from materialism and idolatry that you might “walk in the light of the Lord.” (2:5)
Romans 8:31-10:4 St. Paul outlines the unambiguous nature of God’s sovereignty. His fierce love, a love that took his own Son to the cross, calls us to a relationship where neither persecution, nor famine, nor any danger, in fact nothing, “in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus.” (8:39) Paul expresses compassion for the Israelites who still believe the Law is the way to God rather than faith in his love and mercy. Discuss/reflect: In what ways do we establish our own rules of righteousness rather than submitting to God’s (10:3)? Do you do this? Do religious institutions do this?
Matthew 13:24-30 In the Parable of the Weeds, one of a number of “Kingdom” parables in this theologically-rich chapter, Jesus uses the harvest as a common symbol for the final judgment. The weeds are brought into being by Evil itself and will prosper side by side in the world. Only in the fullness and end of time and only with God’s discernment and not our own limited understanding, will the weeds be burned (an agricultural image well understood in Jesus’ time). God’s judgment may take many of us by surprise as we think – often in ignorance and intolerance — about who we feel is “in” and who is “out”! Jesus explains the parable to his disciples in vv 36-43. Discuss/reflect: Have you had a season in your own life where a person could have looked at you and judged you harshly
Coffee Hour Fellowship there will not be a coffee hour fellowship today.
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.
Church Calendar (please mark your calendars)
July 4 – Independence Day
July 16 – Feast of the Transfiguration of our Lord
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