As you sip your Monday morning coffee and prepare for your week, I offer you the following prayer for reflection:
Excerpt from the Divine Liturgy
Աղաղակեցէք առ Տէր ամենայն երկիր,
ծառայեցէք տեառն ուրախութեամբ։
Մտէք առաջի նորա ցնծութեամբ.
ծաներուք զի նա է Տէր Աստուած մեր։
Նա արար զմեզ եւ ոչ մեք էաք,
մեք ժողովուրդ եւ խաշն արօտի նորա։
Մտէք ընդ դրունս նորա խոստովանութեամբ,
եւ օրհնութեամբ՝ ի յարկս նորա։
Խոստովան եղերուք տեառն,
եւ օրհնեցէք զանուն նորա։
Քաղցր է Տէր, յաւիտեան է ողորմութիւն նորա.
յազգէ մինչեւ յազգ է ճշմարտութիւն նորա։
Փառք Հօր եւ Որդւոյ եւ Հոգւոյն Սրբոյ.
Այժմ եւ միշտ եւ յաւիտեանս յաւիտենից. ամէն։
Make a shout to the Lord, all lands;
serve the Lord with gladness.
Enter into his presence with joy;
know that he is the Lord our God.
It is he who made us and we were not by ourselves;
we are his people and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter into his gates with thanksgiving;
and into his courts with praise.
Be thankful to the Lord and bless his name.
The Lord is gracious, his mercy is everlasting;
and his truth endures from generation to generation.
Glory to the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,
Now and always unto the ages and ages. Amen.
This prayer, recited by the altar servers near the beginning of the Divine Liturgy as well as the Sunrise Service, is a joyful expression of praise for our Lord. Upon entering Seminary, one of the first responsibilities we had as candle bearers was to learn this psalm by heart. We found it to be so sweet and joyful that we readily welcomed memorizing it. As a matter of fact, each of us was eager to learn it quickly before the others, because in doing so, we would be among the first to be called to participate in the services of special holy days. As new Seminarians, there were times our youthful exuberance got the best of us and our competitive natures prevailed!
I chose this prayer for today as a reminder that, though our times may seem distressing and troublesome, we must never forget to exclaim praise and thanksgiving to our Lord. Though the enemy may blast and shatter our churches, these merciless aggressors will never take away our Christian faith or keep us from our sacred places. On the contrary, their destructive deeds only serve to make us stronger. And so, though walls may tumble, we will continue to “Enter into his gates with thanksgiving; and into his courts with praise.” The Lord is our strength and our light, our everlasting hope and salvation, and we will praise him even as the earth crumbles beneath our feet, for “his truth endures from generation to generation.”
Let us remain faithful, mindful and spiritually strong, as we stand together in the face of this pandemic and war.