THE SUNDAY MESSENGER
January 12, 2020
Seventh Day of the Octave of Theophany
The Most Excellent Calling
So what does this mean to us today? On the eighth day, the Lord was given the name Jesus, meaning “Savior,” and through baptism, our Savior has named us as his own. The priest prays over each person being baptized:
Fill your servant with your heavenly gifts and give (him/her) the joy of being named a Christian, the most excellent calling.
When we are named and baptized, we are offered to Jesus – to belong to him, to be adopted into his Church through which we are saved, healed, and forgiven. This is the meaning of the Feast of the Naming of the Lord, the eighth and last day of Theophany. When we celebrate the baptism of Christ, we celebrate our own. Through baptism, we have been adopted and belong to him. In Christ we are given a new identity, new being – we are a new creation.
How is this new identity and being lived out? What makes us different than others who are not baptized and named to belong to God? When we are isolated, alone, and afraid we turn to Jesus for comfort and strength rather than counterfeit fixes. When things look bleak in the world, we still experience peace because we know who has overcome the world (John 16:33). When we experience suffering, we identify with the suffering of Christ and allow it to draw us closer to our Healer. In times of prosperity and poverty, we pray because we always, in all circumstances depend on God for his love, and as “new creatures,” we are compelled to commune with our Creator. When we feel marginalized and unsure of where we fit, we know to what family we belong, we know to Whom we belong, we know for Whom we are born, and we know by Whom we are named.
But we fall and often don’t live up to the vows made at our baptism. St. Cyril of Alexandria explains the spiritual sense of circumcision as cutting away sin and purifying our hearts, living a holy life unto the Lord:
Circumcision is the symbol of the faithful when they are established in grace, as they cut away and mortify the tumultuous rising of carnal pleasures and passions by the sharp surgery of faith and by ascetic labors. They do this not by cutting the body but by purifying the heart. They do this by being circumcised in the spirit and not in the letter.
Christians are not meant to live in isolation, but to hold each other up in faith, to keep each other accountable to fulfill our baptismal vows. After all, we are adopted into the same family through baptism, all of us named “Christian.” An infant may not be conscious of his or her adoption into the family of God, but the pledge made at one’s baptism is made by the Church, the community who brings the child to the font and believes on behalf of the child and promises to raise him or her in the Faith in accordance to what is prayed and promised in the baptism service.
Are we living up to the name we have been given at baptism – “Christian?” Do we know what it really means to be an adopted child of God? Do we understand and weigh the cost of this most excellent calling, the demand to be a member of God’s family? Do we as baptized believers and members of the Body of Christ, as a collective community, lovingly help each other cut away what doesn’t belong in the life of another Christian, performing the sharp surgery of faith? Are we afraid to undergo this kind of surgery, or are we desperate enough to admit we require it or else we are lost and propelling toward spiritual death?
May Jesus our Savior keep us on the path of salvation as we, together as the Church, live our one baptism in Christ, singing the words of the hymn for the eighth day of Theophany,
The Savior appeared and brought the world back to life from the deception of the enemy, granting us adoption through baptism.
By Dn. Eric Vozzy
TODAY’S BIBLE READINGS:
Romans 1: 1-7 (page 137) New Testament
Luke 2: 1-7 (page 53) New Testament – (Please follow the Armenian Reading in your Bible)
“LORD, the God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments, let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant is praying before you day and night….” (Nehemiah 1:5-6). Prayers are requested for Edward Tatoian, Rose Minassian, Ethel Terzian, Taron Poghosyan, Jan Mirijanian, Merle Santerian, Alice Charles, Armen Mirakian and Pearl Jamgochian.
NEW COMMUNION PROCEDURE – Before gathering for confession, please allow time for the Choir Members to come down and join us before we begin.
Blessing of the Waters: Sunday January 12, 2020 the Godfather of Water Blessing this year is going to be Gregory Andonian.
Coffee hour: today is sponsored by Steve and Nancy Hovnanian in honor of, Gregory Andonian, who is Godfather of the Blessing of Waters this year. All are welcome.
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.
COLLECTION TODAY: There will be a second collection taken for the Choir.
January is designated FAMILY WORSHIP MONTH! Under Fr. Hakob’s leadership, our Adult Christian Education (ACE) ministry will be sponsoring several learning opportunities in January. On January 19, a SIMULTANEOUS TRANSLATION of selected sharagans will be presented thus enabling our faithful to appreciate and grasp, not only the beauty of our music, but also the theological depth of the lyrics. At the close of Liturgy on that date, our annual SERVICE OF REMEMBRANCE and Lighting of Candles, honoring those who passed away this year, will be offered. And on January 26, a Question-and-Answer session will replace Fr. Hakob’s sermon. For more details, see the flyer available in the narthex and the church lobby.
CHURCH SCHOOL GOES TO BADARAK: Our Church School will be observing Family Worship Month by inviting families to participate in the Divine Liturgy together. Formal class instruction will not be offered during the month, but will resume in February.
Home Blessings It is part of the Armenian Church tradition to have our homes blessed regularly and especially during the seasons of Christmas and Easter. Please consider bringing this age-old practice to your home in 2020. Having this short service done in your own home will bless you and create a sense of peacefulness for you and your family. If you would like to partake of this beautiful custom, contact the church office (215-663-1600 or firstname.lastname@example.org) and request a home blessing visit from Der Hakob. Please have a piece of bread, dish of salt and glass of water prepared for the blessing service.
THE GOLDEN BOX: As part of our Family Worship Month learning initiatives, Fr. Hakob will conduct a Question-and-Answer session with the faithful during his usual sermon time on January 26. We are invited to submit questions and place them in the Golden Question Box in the narthex during the next few Sundays. This is the perfect opportunity to get answers to those “why-does-the-church” or “why-doesn’t-the-church” faith questions you’ve been wondering about. Be sure to pick up a flyer in the narthex for more information on our other Family Worship Month activities!
ANNUAL PARISH ASSEMBLY: Scheduled for February 16, 2020 with alternate snow dates of March 1 or March 8, 2020.
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.
EMERGENCY CLOSINGS: In an effort to inform parishioners and guests when a Holy Trinity church service or program needs to be canceled or delayed due to inclement weather or other reasons, we request that you check our website (www.holytrinity-pa.org) or facebook page (www.facebook.com/holytrinitypa) for the most accurate information.
HELP WANTED: Jan Mirijanian is looking for someone who can cook and do light house keeping 3 days a week in the South Jersey area. If interested contact him at 856-848-1504 or cell 856-295-3119.
CHURCH CALENDAR (please mark your calendars)
Sunday Jan 12 Blessing of the Water
Sunday January 19th: Remembrance Sunday AND Simultaneous Translation of Hymns
Saturday January 25th: Marriage Evening Retreat (5 to 9 pm): RSVP by 1/20/20
Sunday January 26th: Q and A with Fr. Hakob
Sunday February 16th: Annual Parish Assembly (snow dates 3/1 & 3/8)
2019 Attendance: Plate/Candle Collection:
1 – 69 people $309.00
8 – 122 people $623.00
15 – 66 people $559.00
22 – 81 people $372.00
29 – 76 people $401.00
Weekly Expenses: $6,000.00
NEW IN BOOKSTORE: With pride, we are pleased to announce “Acoustic Armenia,” a CD by a devoted member of the Holy Trinity family, Karinné Andonian. The music of this album is meant to revere the spirit of Armenian music. The Armenian heart has always sung, and here it sings simply and organically, intending to bring a sense of togetherness and home just as it was when it was created generations ago. Available in Bookstore $12.
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.
Would you like to:
– receive this Bulletin on Friday via email?
– request a Hokehankist, house blessing or hall rental information?
– find in-depth information on our faith, our parish and our activities?
– sign up for an event online?
If the answer to any of these questions is YES, please visit our parish website at www.holytrinity-pa.org
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.