THE SUNDAY MESSENGER
August 25, 2019
Second Sunday of Assumption
Collaboration in God’s Divine Plan
Mary knew the Psalms and the writings of the Prophets which spoke of hope, mercy, revolution, and ultimately promised a Messiah who would bring deliverance and redemption to his people. Essentially, this is what Mary is singing about in the song popularly known as the “Magnificat” or in Armenian “Մեծացուսցէ” which means “magnify,” taken from the first line of the song.
Among many other motifs, the Virgin Mary recalls how the prophets foretold and God had promised that all nations would be blessed through Abraham. She sings,
He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
as he spoke to our fathers,
to Abraham and to his posterity for ever.
From her song, we are reminded that Mary is not just a Virgin who gave birth to the Son of God; she is also blessed by all generations, an echo of the word to Abraham (Abram), “By you all the families of the earth shall bless themselves.” (Genesis 12:3) which is fulfilled in the offspring of Mary. Through Mary, God has fulfilled his promise to Israel, to deliver his people from oppression and bring both Jew and Gentile together, uniting them in his Son, Jesus Christ, the faithful Israelite who assumed flesh from the race of Abraham, the Messiah who would bless and unite all nations.
I will indeed bless you, and I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore. And your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies, and by your descendants shall all the nations of the earth bless themselves, because you have obeyed my voice. (Genesis 22:17-18)
By remembering Joachim and Anna (this year, Tuesday, August 27) and the joy that Mary expressed when she learned she would be carrying the Son of God in her womb, the Armenian Church reminds us not only of God’s plan to bring forth the Messiah, but that we are a part of it. What we should not fail to notice is that God, in his divine plan partnered with Mary, another human being. By reading the Մեծացուսցէ, we are reminded of the heredity of our salvation – her parents, and the generations of all those who went before her – the tree of human history that brought forth God’s divine plan of salvation to heal the world, and all those who follow her, those born of the baptismal font in the name of the Holy Trinity. Just as God included Mary, God includes us, so that through us we bring healing to the world. Like Mary, the Bearer of God, we also are bearers of God.
As we find numerous times throughout the Scriptures, God relies on the collaboration of human beings to bring about his divine will. The same collaboration even takes place when we celebrate Badarak! During Badarak, the bread and wine are offered as gifts to God on behalf of the people. Like the gifts of the bread and wine, we too offer ourselves as gifts to God, as disciples for doing his will and work in the world. In essence, as a community we bring to God our most basic needs, offering our whole life, and ask him to take us, change us, and give himself back to us as his own Body and Blood for forgiveness, healing, and salvation. So Badarak is not only about God’s plan to share himself with us, but also about changing us into the people God wants us to be, the Body of Christ, nourished to carry out the mission of the Church. Mary as Աստուածածին, as Birth-Giver of God, has a direct, meaningful connection as to why we belong to the Church and participate in Badarak.
The seed of Abraham does not refer only to the physical lineage of Abraham, but as the father of all nations, it refers to the people of God, the Church, a community in which our lives are joined by our one baptism in Christ, all of us ministers, baptized for his work. God’s partnering with humanity is not because he needs us for his divine plan to work, rather he chooses to include us. Why? Simply because he loves us! This means that each of us as individuals and collectively as the Church are a part of his plan of salvation, a direct link in the chain chosen by God for his purposes. The mission of the Church isn’t about satisfying our personal agendas or even the agenda of a single parish community, but all together we make up the Body of Christ.
So you see that it is men of faith who are the sons of Abraham. And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed.” So then, those who are men of faith are blessed with Abraham who had faith. (Galatians 3:7-9)
As a parish, as individuals on a daily basis, do we celebrate our salvation lineage? Do our souls magnify the Lord? Are we just as joyful as the Mother of God in her song of praise knowing that God also chose us to be a part of his divine plan? As fellow workers with God (see I Corinthians 3:9), do we sing and participate in Badarak as if we are collaborating and truly cooperating with God? Do we only seek to get from God, but lazily contribute to his mission, refraining from or minimally playing our part in the common work of ministry? Ask the Mother of God to intercede for us to live as people of faith, to embody the Gospel as sons and daughters of Abraham, because through Jesus Christ our Savior, we are blessed!
By Dn. Eric Vozzy
TODAY’S BIBLE READINGS:
2Corinthians 6: 16-7:1 (page 166) New Testament
Luke 1: 39-56 (pages 51-52) New Testament – (Please follow the Armenian Reading in your Bible)
Proverbs 11:30-12:4 (page 583) Old Testament
Zechariah 2:10-13 (page 922) Old Testament
“I love the LORD because he hears my voice and my prayer for mercy. Because he bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath!” (Psalm 116:1-2 NLT). Please pray for Merle Santerian, Steve Hovnanian, Alice Charles, Armen Mirakian and Pearl Jamgochian for a return to improved health and to feel the presence of God in their lives. Please also keep in your prayers the leaders and well-being of both the United States and Armenia.
NEW COMMUNION PROCEDURE – Before gathering for confession, please allow time for the Choir Members to come down and join us before we begin.
Did you know that when we participate in Soorp Badarak (Divine Liturgy), we are also being invited to a meal (communion) offered by our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. As such, we should dress in a manner worthy of that invitation. We ask our faithful to dress appropriately for worship. Please, no very short dresses, shorts or bare shoulders. Thank you.
2019 Attendance: Plate/Candle Collection:
21 – 27 people $121.00
28 – 98 people $801.00
4 – 92 people $457.00
11 – 85 people $366.00
18 – 90 people $495.00
Weekly Expenses: $6,000.00
CHURCH CALENDAR (please mark your calendars)
Sunday September 15th – Church School Registration
Sunday September 15th: FEAST OF EXALTATION OF THE HOLY CROSS
Saturday September 28th – Fall Into Philly Kef @ Holy Trinity
25, 26 & 27: Harvest Bazaar
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 often sung after the Gospel is read from the altar. Occasionally, it will be 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.
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 Jeanette Der Hagopian at 215-672-4188.
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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.