Der Vasken’s Sermon on July 11, 2021

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

Today we celebrate one of the five major feast days of the Armenian Church. In the Armenian language, today is commonly called “Vart-a-var”—The Feast of the Transfiguration of Our Lord Jesus Christ. This feast celebrates an incredible event in the life of Jesus that was witnessed by His three closest disciples—Peter, James and John.

This special event took place after Jesus and His disciples spent several days in the outer regions of Jerusalem teaching and preaching and healing people of various illnesses. Crowds gathered wherever they went. Throngs of people pressed in to see Him and touch Him everywhere He went. After six days of this, Jesus instructs His three closest disciples to go with Him to rest and to pray on a mountain called Tabor. What He didn’t tell them at this point was that they were about to see something no one else on earth had ever seen before. They were about to experience God The Father and The Son and The Holy Spirit Together in the same place at the same time.

They were chosen to see the Son of God as He was before He walked the earth and before He left the Gates of Heaven. As was read a moment ago, these three disciples witnessed an extraordinary event. Jesus Christ was altered by the Light of Heaven and seen standing in the Kingdom of Heaven. At that moment, the three disciples saw Him transfigured and transformed. They saw Him as the Son of God, who always was and always will be. They saw a “peek” into Heaven. But the Bible also records that the three disciples heard a voice on that mountain. It was a voice they never heard before. That voice surrounded them and said, “This is my Son, Whom I love; with Him I am well pleased. Listen to Him!”

When Peter, James and John heard this voice, they fell to their knees and hid their faces out of fright for what they just experienced. But moments later, Jesus came to them and gently helped them to their feet and back down the mountain telling them not to be afraid. The three disciples followed Jesus up the mountain to get away from the crowds and the noise and from the demands of their lives and find a quiet moment and a quiet place to pray and in so doing; they heard the Voice of God.

According to the Bible, a typical day in the life of the disciples included the noise and activity of city and village life. So for them to get away and find some quiet time was a luxury. After a while, they craved for quiet, peaceful, personal time. They craved for personal time so that they could be still and hear the Voice of God in their lives. This is one of the more significant messages of this feast day celebration.

God waits every day for each of us to stop for a moment and listen to Him. Think about that honor that the King of Heaven has things He wants to say to us. But we know that, too many of us become so overly pre-occupied with our “to do lists,” we become distracted from His presence. Just like Peter, James and John, we often let His Voice become drowned out by the busyness of life.

Maybe His Voice is drowned out by the traffic jams we are fighting through again now that people are going back to work every day, or by telephones buzzing and ringing, or by the increasing number of appointments on our calendars. Maybe our hearing is focused in on the sounds of this world and tuned out to the sounds of His World.

The King of Heaven has a message we need to hear. He has things to say that will better our lives and make our lives all the more peaceful. So ask yourself on this feast day:

• What will it take to hear the Voice of God every day?
• What is it that I need to hear Him say to me right now?

The Feast of the Transfiguration offers us a chance to hear the Voice of God and that is a beautiful opportunity.


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