“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 (charity). 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.
Great Lent is a time of joyfulness and purification through repentance. It is a time set aside by the Church for self examination and self appraisal, to strengthen our character and to renew our purpose in life.
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.
At the end of the Divine Liturgy, on the Eve of Great Lent (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.
For the Armenian Church Great Lent ends on the Friday before Palm Sunday, which is the 40th day. The next day is Lazarus Saturday (the 41st. day). The Great Lent does not include Holy Week, which begins on the Monday after Palm Sunday.
Each Sunday of Lent has a unique name along with a unique message:
- Week 1 – Poon Paregentan – 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 24)
The Arevakal (Sunrise) 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. This is depicted beautifully in the Arevakal service by the lighting of the candles as the splendid hymn Looys is sung.
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.