Der Vasken's Sermon on November 8, 2020

Nov 10, 2020

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

Every four years the people of our country place signs on their front yards and stand in precinct lines at public schools and government buildings and churches including ours to vote.  It is a long process and an expensive process but a valued process and a much-needed tradition.  In every election there are going to be people, who are happy and people, who are disappointed in the results.  It is truly amazing how many people engaged last week and how many people voted last week.  That is truly democracy at its best.  We offer both our current President and our future President our best wishes for their success and continued good health.  

But when we see the largest voter turnout in history, we have to look at the numbers and realize that those numbers have a story to tell.  The people were engaged and that is great, but the numbers tell us that this is a split nation.  Seventy-four million voted one way and seventy million voted another.  We have, at the end of a long election process, a divided nation and no President will be able to heal this nation without the help of everyone who cast a vote.

I think I am not the only one who feels concerned and worried, and in saying that, I have one eye on our homeland of Armenia and Artsakh and the war raging on there and my other eye on my concern for the beautiful country in which we live.  We have spoken a great deal about the very serious situation in Artsakh over the weeks and we will continue to do so and continue our fund raising efforts and prayer vigils going forward.  However, today, I feel we need to pick up from where we left off last Sunday and talk a little bit about our post-election responsibilities as Christians living in a divided country--a country we all love, a country we all call home and a country that needs healing from those who carry in their heart the God Who heals.

I think we will all agree that, in the war in Artsakh, there is a clear right and wrong, but for much of last week's Presidential Election, no one knew what was right from wrong.  We didn't know who to believe or what to believe and many never will.  We didn't know what was right from wrong.  When seventy-four million people voted one way and seventy million voted another, there was no mandate.  There was no landslide as both political campaigns had us convinced there would be.  But one clear thing did come out of the election.  Our country is polarized and there is no sugarcoating that fact and no one President will be able to unite the people of this country by himself because there was too much that had been said and too much that had divided and too much that had caused doubt.  I think it is fair to say that we are a country and a people in need of healing.

So what are we to do?  What is our role in all of this?  We have to know and we have to believe in our hearts that nothing or no one is beyond the healing power of our God.  His ability to love and heal surpasses all understanding.  God will heal our country through His love and God will heal our country through us.  We are part of His solution.  We play a central role in the healing of this country.  What we say matters.  How we live our lives matters.  How we reach out post-election to our neighbors, regardless of how we think they voted, matters and that is how we heal, by doing exactly as we said last week, by loving God and loving our neighbor, one person at a time, one conversation at a time and one healing at a time.

We heard Ann read to us a beautiful portion of the famous Sermon on the Mount, with each verse starting off with words like this:  Blessed are the Merciful or Blessed are the Peacemakers--nine beautiful verses familiar to all of us.  If those famous words were spoken today for the first time, they would again speak to our lives and to what is going on in our lives.  His Words might sound a little bit more like this:

  • Blessed are you who now feel troubled;
  • Blessed are you who now feel triumphant;
  • Blessed are you who feel numb and frustrated and tired;
  • Blessed are you who has a heart that seeks to heal;
  • Blessed are you who extends the hand of friendship;
  • Blessed are you who welcomes the one who thinks differently than you;
  • Blessed are you who are tending  to the needs of others;
  • Blessed are you who knows deep in your heart that you are good and worthy and loved and capable of healing in the eyes of God;
  • Blessed are you who reminds others that they are good and worthy and loved and capable of healing in the eyes of God;
  • Blessed are we when we dare to dream of a world where everyone gets along;
  • Blessed are we when we dare to repair and heal the world around us;
  • And blessed are we when we labor together to make it so.

So having heard the beautiful Beatitudes spoken by Jesus Christ to the largest crowd ever gathered around Him, how would He finish this sentence about you?  "Blessed are you..." He says.  What are you today?

  • Are you tired?
  • Are you spent?
  • Are you cautiously optimistic?
  • Are you hopeful?
  • Are you afraid or encouraged?
  • Are you cowering or full of joy?
How would He finish that sentence about you?  So I am going to leave off with that and remind us all that we can be a blessing to each other and together we can heal our country and our towns and our neighborhoods by asking Him to use us to bring healing where healing is needed.  "Blessed are you..." Christ says.  How would He finish this sentence about you?  Might He say: Blessed are you for you can bring healing where healing is needed.  Something we should all think about.