Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Where two or three are gathered . . .

The other day, Marash Girl was chastised by Irene for not having attended church . . . Marash Girl promptly and inadvertently misquoted Matthew 18:20: "For when one or two are gathered in my name, there am I also."  Of course, it was late (that's Marash Girl's excuse) and she was tired, but Irene never hesitated.  "NO!  That's not the quote . . . The Bible says, "For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." (Matthew 18:20, King James Bible).  Being properly chastised, Marash Girl just grinned and said, "Well, the Holy Spirit and I make one!"

The quotation from Matthew brought to mind another of Marash Girl's favorite quotations, this one by William Saroyan:

"For when two of them [Armenians] meet anywhere in the world, see if they will not create a New Armenia. . .”   

The passage  is often seen posted on the walls of Armenian-American establishments, or at the least, carried in the hearts of most Armenian-Americans. Could the Saroyan passage here quoted have been inspired by Matthew 18:20? After all, William Saroyan's father was a Presbyterian minister . . .


  1. The biblical quote referred to above underscores the nature of the triune god whom we worship, and the importance of not forsaking the gathering of the brethren. We know that the Lord is present in the souls of those who acknowledge him as their Lord and Savior. Because of that we know also, that God is as close to us as he can be. The bible emphasizes the need for the believer to draw near unto God. What that means is that our focus must be on God, to wit: 'those who diligently pursue God will be rewarded'. No, i am not preaching the idiocy and cultic error of the prosperity mega church preachers who use their pulpits to promote the gospel of hell, because the reward is the mind of Christ. like Solomon who asked for wisdom, the mind of Christ is the reward, and with it a peace that passes all understanding, as well as a guidance that allows us to walk through the valley of the shadow of death and fear no evil. The tragedy of Saroyan was that his genius was his downfall as it drew him ever farther from the god of light and life. No, i am not being judgmental, just read his biography. He was a sad and lonely man, because he had walked away from the one person, Jesus the Christ, who could provide him solace, meaning, and purpose.

  2. Saroyan's observation, filled with so much gravitas, reminds me, conversely, of an experience I had as a young man traveling back from Munich after a time of study there. I arrived in Amsterdam following a 12 hour train ride. Walking along one of the most exclusive streets of retail stores, i came upon a store front with the words, 'Kinnebanian Orientalishe Teppishe' emblazoned on the store window. i halted, as if a gun was pointed at me. here i was in a strange city and i had discovered a member of my extended family, no doubt, oh... so extended. i entered through the front store and was enveloped in the smell and color and history and persona of oriental carpets. An Armenian in Amsterdam selling oriental rugs, the same that we had throughout our home, identical in scent and texture, rhyme, reason and redondo. A stately woman approached. She had the physical architecture of an upper class woman and a manner to give it repute. Ignoring the battlement of her attempt to diffuse my purpose, i enquired after the owner whose name was on the front. She asked me why i wanted to speak with her husband. She looked upon me as a foreigner, and no doubt her husband, as well. In that, we were all equal. i returned her gaze with the same couture. we were all foreigners entangled in the threads of business and history and the canals of Amsterdam. well, enough of the prosaic, Kinebanian arrived, and once he espied a fellow stranger in a strange land, he immediately made it less strange by inviting me up to the second floor that was draped in every kind of persian, turkish, armenian carpet, angled and drawn. he asked for armenian coffee to be served, and a tovli board to be brought. the wife, the good woman she was, must have been love, i think, brought both, and left us alone on the flying carpet of tovli in Amsterdam, on the second floor, above a canal filled with Dutch who still remembered the terrible winter of 1944 when the Germans withdrew from their city and took all the food with them. for the moment, our tribal association was made possible by an ancient game that predated all the awfulness of a Gaul conquered by Caesar 2000 years before, we feasted on the clouds of our culture wafting through the tales told by carpets and children.

    1. Your reply calls up beautiful memories that many of us, should we have been lucky enough, have experienced in our travels throughout the world. The advice from our dad was, "Wherever you find yourself in the world, just pick up the telephone book, and look for any name ending in 'ian'. Call them. I can tell you for sure. They will insist that you come right over to their house for dinner!" And Dad was right!

    2. marashgirl: your comment serves up yet another memory. that memory is how our family made the initial contact with the bilezikians of paris, sosie's family.