(A reflection from an Ethiopian Orthodox friend.)

Seeing the launch of the Black Catholic Messenger sent a jolt of joy in me that could not be replicated by observing neo-Babylonians sending their souped-up tower into the heavens.

No. The Irish and the Italian Catholic presence in this country is well-documented. The Filipino is becoming better-known—at least here in California where, after Spanish and English, the most commonly spoken tongue is Tagalog (not to be confused by the hungry with Tagalongs). The Black Catholics are still egregiously underrated.

Seeing the first utterance in this fresh publication of the name of the victorious lion of Judah His Imperial Majesty Emperor Haylé Silasé, appointed by God and King of Kings of Ethiopia, hit different. To me, it is a Bat-Signal. Expect me over your right shoulder. Behold, here I am.

Hat tip to Christina Gillam and Fr. John McKenzie, who don’t know my identity, but summoned the Bat.

The Fukuyamans and political shamans—excuse the redundancy; Semites use repetition and synonymic parallelism for emphasis—from the 90s to the Present have believed that the USA, and its fellow-laborers in liberal democracy, have defeated the final boss of history and are now just replaying the game for funsies. (See: the Fable series.)

They place their superlative trust in the current state of affairs, and thus think the fate of all earthly empires will not befall their own beloved behemoths. Presidents and prime ministers are more like princes than not.

And history, although not by necessity, is much more a pendulum than a linear graph. We witnessed that plainly in the USA in 2016. And perhaps with a little more opacity in Egypt and Ethiopia, two ancient kingdoms of the biblical milieu.

My own peering into polytricks has also been a pendulum of sorts over the years. The much-quoted Samuel Clemens says, “history doesn’t repeat itself, but it often rhymes.”

I was raised by two Ethiopian nationalists, culturally Ge’ez Rite Orthodox, raised during Haylé Silasé’s reign and who heard the siren’s call of Marxist Communism as much of their generation did—and yet fondly remembered the fabulous five modern monarchs of Ethiopia: Téwodros, Yohanis, Minyilik, Zewdeetu, and Haylé Silasé. (Sticklers would add Tekle Geeyorgees and Eeyasu, who reigned about 3 years each.)

I grew up in awe of these figures, then viewed them and all kings with disdain as an adolescent, and at 30 have come again to look at them in awe but also as deeply human figures, warts and all. Their kingship should never be mistaken for the kingship of Jesus. The former temporal, the latter eternal.

Well-put of the Ethiopians to demarcate the borders of their King of Kings to Ethiopia alone. The Persian Prince par excellence, Cyrus the Great, had the universe as the borders of his King of Kingship. That said, the melek olam (King of the Universe) was, is, and always will be YHWH.

But don’t take the word of this Axumite. Ax the tens of thousands of seraphim, cherubim, presbyters, and living beasts.

As of this writing, it seems that Joe Biden is the President-elect, and that President Donald Trump won’t be president past January 2021. But, that is subject to change. Most things on this plane are. That’s why Bishop Jacob of Jerusalem, brother of the Lord, tells us to keep "lordwilling" on our lips.

It seems that Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed will round up his political opponents the TPLF and take away their political power forever. But, that is subject to change. King Agrippa, and all the Herods, are a reminder of the abuses of power that we faithful can become collaborators with and executors of.

Daniel, of the Scroll of Daniel, is a reminder that we faithful can find godly things to think, say, and do under the boot of any earthly regime. Scripture, like life, is functional.


Deacon H. E. Negash
Virgin Mary Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Cathedral
Los Angeles, California

podcast | bible study
(reposted by request; originally seen in his subtack newsletter.)


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