“But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
– Romans 5:8 –
Do you focus daily on your relationship with God? The season of Great Lent is a time of renewed devotion as we are called to prayer, fasting and almsgiving. In the Armenian Church each Sunday of the Lenten period guides us in our reflections and meditations to evaluate our lives by offering means of self-discipline and instruction through the Scriptures.
The six Sundays of Lent take us through passages that define how sin entered our lives separating us from God yet reminding us of God’s goodness, mercy and love for His creation fulfilled in His Son.
In the Armenian Church Lent is a time of joyfulness and purification through repentance.
SYMBOLIC OF LENT IN THE ARMENIAN APOSTOLIC CHURCH
At the end of the Divine Liturgy on the Eve of Great Lent, Shrovetide or Poon Paregentan, the Altar Curtain is closed to symbolise the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Kingdom of heaven. Since the Main Altar symbolises the Throne of God, the faithful (like Adam and Eve) are “expelled” from Paradise in a 40-day period of penitence.
The end of the Great Lent period is celebrated with Toor’un Patzek, opening of the Great Doors, where the faithful beg God for readmission into Paradise. Through Christ the doors are opened for salvation and eternal life in the Kingdom of God.
Each Sunday of Lent has a unique name along with a unique message:
- Week 1 – Poon Paregentan (Shrovetide)– A day of good living, reminding us of God’s love and blessings. (Read Matt. 5-7)
- Week 2 – Expulsion Sunday – Sin enters our lives preventing us from experiencing the best of life and God’s fullness. (Genesis 1-3)
- Week 3 – Prodigal Sunday –No matter how much we stray from the good of life, there is always hope through God’s Love and Forgiveness. (Luke 15)
- Week 4 – Steward Sunday – Managing the talents and gifts given to us by God in a life of purpose and responsibility. (Luke 16)
- Week 5 – Judge Sunday – Prayer and perseverance; having constant communion with God is revealed through an unjust and unrighteous judge who is the centre of this day’s message. (Luke 18)
- Week 6 – Advent – The Second Coming of Christ is understood in the lessons of the First Coming. (Matthew 25)
- Palm Sunday – We enter Holy Week. The triumphant entry into Jerusalem by our Lord also signals the beginning of the holiest days of Christianity. (Matthew 26)
- Easter Sunday – Christ is Resurrected!
The Arevakal Service on Sunday mornings
With the curtain closed, the Arevakal service is now held over the Sundays during Lent until it is reopened on Palm Sunday for the Divine Liturgy. The message or theme of the Arevakal service is the light of God ~ Jesus ~ the Way, the Truth and the Life. When we come to know Jesus, it is like the awakening of the sunrise that brings us out of darkness and into the light.
Likewise in the Arevakal Service, we call on the leading of the Holy Spirit to enlighten us with the grace that is granted to us.
The teaching each Sunday then takes us through the history of God’s relationship with us, from creation to today. The Bible readings for each Sunday tell us what we should be doing at each stage of our Lenten journey