Pastor’s Points of Light
By Fr. Shnork Souin-Baynetian
The eyes of all wait upon you, O Lord, and you give their food in due season. you open your hand and fill all things living with your bounty.
(Armenian Prayer Before Meals)
In this ancient Armenian prayer of Thanksgiving, said before meals, we see the glorious and creative hand of God providing everything necessary for the good and welfare of mankind.
The implication is that God provides everything necessary for the welfare of all mankind and that we ought to be wanting for nothing more, as the gifts of the divine bounty are sufficient for all. The question we must pose however is: “why is their famine, why is their starvation and why is there poverty in our world?” If the problem is not with the amazing realization that our benevolent God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, is the lover of humankind, then the problem must be with us!
Mankind, that is Adam and Eve, at the Fall, had their eyes wide open and fell into the world of sin out of their pride, envy, anger, laziness, covetousness, gluttony, and lust. Pride, and Envy, because they wanted to be like God and knowing God was in charge and they didn’t feel ready to obey Him, Anger, blaming each other rather than sacrificing and offering themselves for each other, Gluttony and Laziness because they wanted to eat from the” Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil” rather than, the “Tree of Life” because they felt what received wasn’t enough and Covetousness because they wanted what did not belong to them – in fact was forbidden them and finally Lust because when they had committed every transgression of the Deadly Sins, where previously they were innocent and saw each other as an extension of each other, they realized that they were naked!
The brokenness of this world, the starvation, famine, poverty, is the selfish greed, pride and every other sin, of a humanity that is out of touch, eyes wide shut with God and His mandate for mankind to be the good stewards of his God- given stewardship over the planet and her ever decreasing resources. We need to return to God, in repentance this Thanksgiving and Advent season. We need to stop and offer back ourselves in humility. We can stop the madness, be kind, be charitable, “take what we need and leave what we don’t.” What will our children’s children say about us if we leave them a desolate, barren planet, polluted, infertile, poisoned and raped of every resource?
Repenting from our “consumerist” behavior, we can by God’s grace, return to a wholesome calling, to make life simpler, live within our means, not burdening ourselves nor our children and their children, but causing no harm to them nor to the environment nor to his entire creation that was given to us and for them. Giving thanks “We offer back all that comes from Him, from all and on behalf of all, Amen.” (From the Divine Liturgy-St. John Chrysostom)
This Thanksgiving, let us give thanks to the Lord for His gracious bounty and realize that if we become the Good Stewards, then there will be plenty for all, and recognizing our Christian spirit of love and stewardship, for our lives, families, church, talents, gifts, resources, and responsibility to future generations.
(Prayer after meals)
“Let us give thanks and glory to the Nourisher of the universe who nourished and filled us.”
Fr. Shnork Souin-Baynetyan, Pastor