THE SUNDAY MESSENGER
First Sunday of Advent
Scripture and Feast Day Notes
From Today’s Readings
Luke 12:13-31 Jesus tells the parable of a rich fool who plans to build a bigger place to store his surplus grain so he might “eat, drink, and be merry” (v.19) only to die that very night; how much wiser to be “rich toward God” rather than for ourselves! Jesus continues to reorder our priorities: do not be anxious, He advises, about anything (12:22-31) – better to seek God’s Kingdom from which all things will flow in abundance as it does for the birds and the flowers of the field. Discuss/reflect: Jesus could not be clearer: “A man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” (12:16) What do you need or like to have around you in great number? How can you come out from under this burden to live the trusting, care-free life to which our Lord invites you?
1 Thessalonians 1:1-10 In this first chapter of his letter, St. Paul overflows with praise and thanksgiving for a beloved community. Their exemplary faith, even in suffering, had inspired countless others across the region. Discuss/reflect: Read verse 3 aloud. Prayerfully turn the questions around: “Does my faith produce work, does love prompt labor, does hope inspire better endurance?”
Isaiah 36:1-9 The king of Assyria has invaded Judah and from captured Lachish sends a commander to demand Jerusalem’s surrender (an Assyrian wall relief depicting this capture has been excavated at the site). He questions King Hezekiah’s reliance on God. Discuss/reflect: In v.4, the Assyrian enemy mocks King Hezekiah’s faith: in the face of enemy assault, on what could he possibly base his confidence? What forces assail your faith today? How do you respond?
Today is the First Sunday of Advent
Unlike the four-week Advent of the Western Church, the season preceding Christmas in the Armenian Church is fifty days, called Heesnag (from the word for fifty, heesoon). As a period of spiritual preparation, Heesnag contains a total of three designated weeks of fasting (aside from the usual Wednesday and Friday fasts). So, unlike Great Lent, it is not a continuous period of this discipline. Bottom line: Our Advent or Heesnag is a beautiful time to prepare, body and soul, for the celebration of the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Prayerful activity: Every day, spend five minutes reading some part of the Christmas story: Luke 1:26-56; Luke 2:1-20; Matthew 1:18-25; Matthew 2. Read only a few verses at a time and savor them. Keep reading and repeating in preparation for Christmas.
REQUIEM SERVICES: Karasoonk today will be for:
–Angela Rafiev Ovsepyan requested by the Aloian family in loving memory.
Honoring our Elders: Our Pastor and Parish Council invite the faithful to be present for a new blessing service following today’s Divine Liturgy. We will be honoring a very special group of elders—those in their nineties and beyond! There will be a celebratory fellowship in the church hall. Please join us—no reservations are required.
Pastor’s Weekly Zoom Bible Study: Every Wednesday, Fr Hakob will lead us through the Gospel of Matthew; chapter by chapter, we will explore the activities and teachings of our Lord to find the Truth behind the sacred text. We will meet every Wednesday evening from 7:00-8:00. Flyers are available in the narthex. To register and receive the Zoom link, contact email@example.com. As always, beginners are welcome.
REMINDER: According to the Diocesan Bylaws, membership dues are to be paid no later than December 31st each year, in order to be a member in “good standing” and to be eligible to vote at the annual assembly. Any monies received after that date will be applied to the new year. For any questions regarding your status, please call the church office.
Seeking Part-time Organists: – The Choir of Holy Trinity is looking for multiple talented musicians who would be seriously interested in playing the organ for the Sunday morning Divine Liturgy (Badarak) on a rotating schedule. Organ lessons will be provided to the interested candidates, along with one-on-one direction from a senior choir person. For further information, contact Karinne Andonian @ firstname.lastname@example.org.
LOST AND FOUND: Please look at the coat racks in the hallway as we have begun to accumulate miscellaneous pieces of clothing. We will be donating any remaining items to charity in December.