Today marks the 108th anniversary of the Armenian genocide during WW1. In this – the first Genocide of the 20th century – almost an entire nation was destroyed. The Armenian people were effectively eliminated from the homeland they had occupied for nearly three thousand years. This annihilation was premeditated and planned to be carried out under the cover of war.
[The Uniting Church in Australia formally acknowledged the Armenian Genocide at its 14th Assembly meeting in 2015. Today we pause to remember, and share this prayer from Uniting Church Pastor Levon Kardashian who is the grandson of a survivor].
God of life,
your Spirit hovers over all existence,
bringing life out of nothingness,
beauty out of ashes,
and resurrection life from the depths of the earth.
We remember the Armenian Genocide that was marked on April 24, 1915;
the Armenian priests, scholars, and community leaders assassinated;
the Armenian men, women and children who were deported,
driven in death marches, and massacred mercilessly.
Listen to the lament that rises from our hearts,
to the call of the dead
from the depths of the Medz Yeghérn (literally Great Calamity).
As the blood of Abel cries out to you so does the blood of a nation massacred.
As Rachel weeps for her children because they are no more,
so does a nation, many of whom are no more.
With your compassion, look upon the people of this nation
who put their trust in you so long ago,
who have faced persecution, exile and death,
Yet have remained faithful to you:
a nation that lives because your never-ending love stands by the oppressed.
Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his faithful ones. (Ps. 116:15)
God of deliverance,
renew our hope in your promise.
Heal open wounds through the power of your love.
Our souls long for you more than the watchman for daybreak
as we celebrate the fullness of redemption won on the Cross,
for the light of Easter which is the dawn of invincible life.
We praise you for your grace, mercy, and power upon the Armenians,
whose faith remains to be their guide,
whose hope helps them excel,
and whose joy helps them sing your praises. Amen.