If you’ve ever traveled with passengers via plane, train, or automobile—even by foot, skateboard, or bicycle—you’ve certainly heard these words at some point along the way: “Are we there yet?”
Lent is a journey of its own—a journey of the spirit. And the Armenian faith tradition actually anticipates that the faithful will eventually ask their own version of “Are we there yet?”
The church offers its answer on the 24th day of Medz Bakh (Great Lent), the season’s 4th Wednesday. Its answer is Michink—the Median Day of Lent—which falls on March 18 in 2020.
What might the designation of Michink mean to us in the life of the Armenian Church?
Perhaps we recognize the midpoint of the season to realize how far we have gone—and how far we have yet to go. Observing Michink can energize us to “keep going forward,” to focus on continuing our Lenten journeys so we may more mindfully celebrate Christ’s Resurrection when we “arrive” at Easter.
As a signal that we’re approaching the “home stretch,” Michink is a scheduled reminder, not unlike the automated update-reminders on our phones and computers. It helps us progress through Lent smoothly, and keeps us functioning efficiently. Although there is no specific liturgical service to mark Michink, the day is observed with reflection by pious faithful.
The Lord Journeys With Us
We know that Easter—the Feast of the Resurrection of Our Lord—is the pre-eminent feast of our liturgical year. It is a time of vitality and new life. Indeed, it is the foundation for the entire Christian understanding and view of life.
In preceding the greatest feast of the year, Lent provides a path for us to day-by-day reawaken our sense of purpose and wonder at the miracle of life.
Life itself is God’s miraculous gift. And even more miraculous is the gift He gave us in Jesus: who conquered death withdeath; who makes all things new. Christ’s victory over death—“mightily breaking asunder the bolts of hell”—is ourstrongest assurance that the power of God is unlimited. We profess this reality every time we sing with awe—three times in succession!—the hymn Sourp Asdvadz.
At the midpoint of Lent we are in the best position to look back on where we’ve come from spiritually, and look ahead to our destination. For example, it is a time to ask: “Who are the examples of living faith that have blessed my life?” But it is equally a time to ask: “How am I being an example of living faith to others?”
Above all, it is a time to pause in our Lenten journey, take stock of the path behind us and the path ahead, and acknowledge the great truth of the Gospel message: that we do not walk this path alone, for God is with us, in Jesus Christ.
That truth holds even greater meaning for us at this moment in the life of our world, when so many people are living in enforced isolation. Let this day remind every one of us that though the path we’re currently on is uncertain, Christ will be with us through the entire journey. And he will guide us to its end.
In these trying days, may all our people—in every location and of every age—continue to embrace this faith with hope and joy, for the tranquility of our spirits, for the building up of our holy Armenian Church, and for the glory of God.
By Megan A. Jendian.