BY REV. HENDRIK SHANAZARIAN
“Faith, Hope and Love”/Havadk, Hooys yév Sér is the 48th book from the pen of Rev. Dr. Vahan H. Tootikian. In this volume he summarizes advice derived from years of studying the Scripture, service in the Middle East, and in the U.S. While you can be blessed by reading this book in one sitting, there are thoughts and suggestions in each message that require prayerful consideration and disciplined practice.
In this book, Rev. Tootikian calls for a responsible, meaningful Christian life, which is possible only through personal knowledge of the Lord, an active relationship with Him, and trustful surrender to His teachings and guidance. Humanity is created in God’s image, there is meaning in our life and we are responsible for living with purpose. Everybody is running in this life, but more important than our speed or the distance we run, is the why or direction of our run.
As the title suggests the book is about Faith, Hope and Love, their meaning and importance in our personal life. Quoting from Paul’s epistle to the Corinthians, Rev. Tootikian reminds us all through this book that love is the greatest. In both the English and Armenian sections Rev. Tootikian clearly reminds the reader of God’s perfect love expressed in the birth, teachings, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. He invites us to follow Christ’s example of self-giving, mature love in our daily life, which is possible only for those who know and trust Him.
The book has a message for every season of the Christian calendar. Important theological and social issues come up, but the author’s main concern is to encourage and challenge readers to live a responsible and meaningful life. That kind of life is the result of knowing God through the Son, meeting God in daily experiences of regular life, continuous and prayerful study of the Bible, Christian disciplines, worship and service.
Personal stories from the author’s faith journey and change of views due to life experience bring a special richness to the book. In a time when everybody seeks an easier life, and does everything possible to be freed from daily tensions, Rev. Tootikian writes that some tension in our life is necessary to help us function better, develop in our personal life, and improve our relationships.
While the book is helpful for everybody at any stage of life, there are chapters the author addresses to Armenian readers that offer guidance for living a balanced life in multiple worlds of the diaspora. In the Armenian section the author discusses issues of interest to Armenians, and gives advice to church leaders, pastors, and political leaders.
I recommend this book for its advice about personal, spiritual, relational and communal aspect of your life. It is written by a person who has experienced the ups and the downs of life, who has learned in academia and at the school of life, and has taught at school, at the church and continues teaching and impacting people’s life through his daily encounters with those around him. Read the book prayerfully, without any rush, trying to find answers to personal questions asked regularly throughout the pages of the book, so you may be able grow not only in knowledge but in your character and godliness.
Rev. Hendrik Shanazaria is the Minister to the American Evangelical Union of North America.