As you sip your Monday morning coffee and prepare for your week, I offer you the following prayer for reflection:
Prayer Before Meals -Author Unknown Ճաշակեսցուք խաղաղութեամբ զկերակուրս, Jashagestzook khaghaghootiamp uzgeragoorus (Let us in peace eat this meal) որ պատրաստեալ է մեզ ի Տեառնէ: Vor badrasdial eh mez ee Dianrneh; (Which is prepared for us by the Lord;) Օրհնեալ է Տէր ի պարգեւս իւր: Ամէն: Orhnial eh Der ee barkevus yoor. Amen (Blessed is the Lord in his gifts. Amen.)
In yesterday’s Gospel according to Matthew, we saw Jesus bless the loaves and fishes before the disciples fed the crowds. It is our custom to follow Jesus’s example and bless our food before we eat. You have all heard me recite this Armenian prayer many, many times – every time we share a meal together as a church family. It is our traditional Armenian blessing before we break bread. The author of this beautiful blessing is unknown. It was likely born in the monastic environment by monks in the middle centuries and passed down by word of mouth. In the monastic setting, this prayer is recited by the officiant priest as he blesses the table. The rest of monks then sit quietly and eat while one among them reads from scripture. This prayer is a simple one that you can learn together with your family. In doing so you will honor the Lord at your table and begin your mealtime in the Armenian tradition. And when we are able to join together once again for coffee hour, we can pray this blessing together as one family!
In The Book of Hourly Prayers of the Armenian Apostolic Church there is a special section dedicated for "Meals Blessing." (Page 265) The book can be found here in classical Armenian: https://www.armenianchurchlibrary.com/files/jamagirk.pdf
Let us remain faithful, mindful and spiritually strong, as we stand together in the face of this pandemic.