In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Amen!
When the world was created, as Christian’s, we believe that God created the stars, the plants, the sun and the moon and all life. All begins began with God and nothing existed before God. How and what we know about the beginning is limited to what we read in Holy Scripture and while the intricacies might be remarkable, such as the how, what, and how long, etc. However, for us Christian’s we focus on is the reality of God created the visible and invisible world because of His love. Science, which deals with the observable and measurable world, theorizes that perhaps at the moment of beginning, when things came into life, there was a big bang, a singularity that through an arduous process and over millions of years, atoms, protons, neutrons, hydrogen, carbon and all other things came together, and the material and observable world came into being. Whether there was a big bang or not, whether it was millions of years or 7 24-hour days, as Christian’s it isn’t very consequential. Faith is knowing about God’s presence in our life while science deals with what can be seen, measured and quantified, meaning it is always growing and changing and in 1933, the theory of dark matter was first coined. Without getting into the science of dark matter both because of my lack of knowledge and the sophistication of it, in its basic form, dark matter is not observable by the naked eye. When the big bang took place, dark matter was also created; this invisible presence which affects gravity, light and so much more. And though it is present in our galaxy, dark matter can only be observed, measured, and understood through how it affects the things around it.
For some of us here perhaps we are thinking, oh Der Hayr is talking about how God affects the world even though we don’t see and observe Him directly. And while this is absolutely true, there is something else I want us to think about. In today’s world, though as Christian’s we believe in the love of God, in the good, in the blessings we have received, the truth is we observe much more hatred, anger, bigotry, racism, intolerance, death and destruction, than we do good. Our social media and news platforms are riddled with the latest shootings, the polarization and division of people both here in the United States and around the world. We see once again the genocide against the Armenian people happening in Artsakh, the exodus from our homeland and silence of the world and indifference of people. We observe far more negativity and darkness than we do the light. Not just in the news, but perhaps in our life as well; we smile on the surface, but we are struggling in our lives. We have addictions, we have disorder, we have brokenness, we hide our face so that people will not see. We are fighting with our loved ones, we are struggling with our faith. The list goes on and for a moment this observable world feels much more like dark matter, and hope feels distant.
You see as humans we are physical, material and though we have a spiritual, and mental side to us as well, the what we see, what we can measure and quantify is what often times we focus on. That is why for example, the Romans crucified Christ Jesus. Crucifixions were done on high hills, for all to see and be warned – that if you break the law, you will be punished in such a way. To be crucified was to be humiliated, rejected, and cursed. Yet, for us Christian’s through the death and resurrection of Christ Jesus on the Cross, that tool, the observable reality death and suffering has been transformed into life, into a shield and sword by which evil is destroyed and we live. But unless, like dark matter, we only look with our hopeless human eyes, we will be lost to the power of death, we will be overcome by the evils and the suffering and pain that exists – we will only the cross of death. That is why in the Gospel today we read, “then will appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn…” When the sign of the Son of man appears, what sign? The Cross. The tribes, the people, the nations of the earth will mourn. Nations doesn’t mean Armenian, Canadian, American, Turkish or other. Nations means the different types of people, of all ages, of all religions, of all backgrounds – nations of the earth meaning will mourn, will tremble, will be filled with fear. In other words my dears, those who the cross has remained a sign of death, a tool of humiliation, they will be filled with fear.
But for us, we who don’t look merely with our physical eyes but our illuminated spiritual eyes, we take glory, we know and believe that what we see with our eyes is only part of the picture. You and I are not our sins, we are not the darkness that exists in our life. We are not the addiction, we are not the drug, we are not the broken relationship, we are not the failed test. Our value, who we are is not defined by the observable world, or the crosses of death in our life. Rather, when we look with faith, we see who we truly are – beloved children of God, created in His image and likeness, freed from our sins by the blood of Christ Jesus. We are the dark matter of the world, which might not always be seen and observed but when we live our faith, we impact and affect he world around us. When we live with hope, we begin to be the light in darkness, we begin to be the healing in suffering, we begin to be Christ no matter how the world tries to scare us into hopelessness and fear.
Over the last week, as we read of the stories of Armenian’s being forced from their homes, I read a story of a grandmother who as she was packing her things to leave wanted to burn her house down so that the Azeris would not take it. Yet, she as she thought about it, she remembered the love, the joy, the families, the faith that had built that home. The memories of her children who grew up in that home and the prayers she taught them. And so she decided to wash the dishes, put away the cutlery and as she left, she wrote a note that said. Dear Azeri soldiers, this home was a place of faith, of love, of respect and of hope. Whoever takes over, and whatever you do, may it be for you a place of love, of hope and of faith. In the face of evil, this Armenian grandmother remained the light, the hope and the very presence of Christ Jesus. Perhaps that note will be torn and never read; perhaps she will pass into a faded memory one day. But like dark matter, that isn’t always observed directly, her impact, her presence will always remain and affect the world around it.
May we my dears, not focus on the observable negative, not fear the tools of darkness and pain but focusing on the life we have received in Christ Jesus, may we become the tool of new life, of new hope, of renewal in this world, the resurrected Christ. Proverbs teaches us, “Do not be afraid of sudden panic, or of the ruin of the wicked, when it comes; for the Lord will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being caught.” Pray so that we will not be afraid, love so that we will not be lost, hope and know that our Lord Jesus Christ has conquered the world, has conquered the pain and even death and so though we may not always be able to see with our naked eye, in faith we know that hope in God our Heavenly Father, as revealed to us through the Holy Spirit is there to strengthen us, and comfort us. We are the power of God, we are what the world observes and measures of God; imagine how we can transform and affect those around us when we ourselves remain in that hope.
Glory to God, Amen!