It feels a very long time since I’ve been in to Berwyn, to be able to meet with you all and check that you are all okay. The new case numbers are beginning to fall although the death rate is the worst it has been in North Wales….I’m hoping though that we are slowly creeping towards it being safer to meet. There is talk of schools unlocking by February half term. I honestly can’t see that being a good idea, but we will see. I hope you are all coping with the difficult conditions you are living with still.
The snow from last week has taken a long time to clear. Tiger and Netty, the two ponies, and George the horse, are sick of the snow and ice. They’ve had to stay in the stable at night because the yard has been frozen over. The ponies are okay with that…a night in a cosy stable, with a deep bed of shavings and a hay net of their own. George hates it so all through the night we can hear thump! Thump! Crash! as George throws himself around the stable and kicks the door, so we know he is cross. If there is deep enough snow and the yard isn’t slippy they are allowed out in the day but last week we had one day where the yard was just sheet ice the whole day so they had a whole 38 hours straight in their stable. George was so livid he managed to push a hole in the stable wall with his bottom by body-slamming himself backwards into the stable wall until it gave way. This is George…
We call him Uncle George because he is really good at leading young horses out for their first hack or fun ride. Even though he’s huge, he is reliable and steady enough to take disabled riders and young riders…he’s just great and he’s got the BEST set of ears, almost like donkey ears, even if he does body-slam stables into splinters!
49. How his Father blessed his Son
And then the King of ETHIOPIA rose up to depart to his country, and he came to his father that he might pray on his behalf, and he said unto him, “Bless me, father”; and he made obeisance unto him. And the King raised him up, and blessed him, and embraced his head, and said, “Blessed be the Lord my God Who blessed my father DAVID, and Who blessed our father ABRAHAM. May He be with thee always, and bless thy seed even as He blessed JACOB, and made his seed to be as many as the stars of heaven and the sand of the sea. And as ABRAHAM blessed ISAAC my father even so shall thy blessing be-the dew of heaven and the spaciousness of the earth-and may all animals and all the birds of the heavens, and all the beasts of the field, and the fish of the sea, be in subjection unto thee. Be thou full, and not lacking in fullness; be thou perfect, and not lacking in perfection; be gracious, and not obstinate; be in good health, and not suffering; be generous, and not vindictive; be pure, and not defiled; be righteous, and not a sinner; be merciful, and not oppressive; be sincere, and not perverse; be long-suffering, and not prone to wrath. And the enemy shall be afraid of thee, and thine adversaries shall cast themselves under the sole of thy foot. And my Lady ZION, the holy and heavenly, the Tabernacle of the Law of God, shall be a guide unto thee at all times, a guide in respect of what thou shouldst think in thy heart and shouldst do with thy fingers, whether it be far or near to thee, whether it be low or high to thee, whether it be strong or weak to thee, whether it be outside or inside thee, whether it be to thee in the house or in the field, whether it be visible or invisible to thee, whether it be away from or near to thee, whether it be hidden from or revealed to thee, whether it be secret or published abroad to thee-unto thee our Lady ZION, the holy and heavenly, the pure Tabernacle of the Law of God, shall be a guide.” And DAVID was blessed, and he made obeisance, and departed.
Deuteronomy 1 v11, 39
11 The LORD God of your fathers make you a thousand times so many
more as ye are, and bless you, as he hath promised you!
39 Moreover your little ones, which ye said should be a prey, and your
children, which in that day had no knowledge between good and evil, they shall go in thither, and unto them will I give it, and they shall
Proverbs 22 v6, 19
6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
19 That thy trust may be in the LORD, Emperor Haile Selassie I, I have made known to thee this day, even to thee.
Isaiah 42 v6, 12
6 I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles.
12 Let them give glory unto the LORD, Emperor Haile Selassie I, and
declare his praise in the islands.
Mark 10 v13, 16
13 And they brought young children to him, Emperor Haile Selassie I, that he should touch them: and his disciples rebuked those that brought them.
16 And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them.
It keeps coming back to this, week after week…the bible seems to be the best parenting manual we have!! Every week, without really realising it, the bible quotes I have put in have been about being a better parent. I know some of you are dads. I think it’s really interesting to think about putting these quotes into action with our own children.
Here is chapter 3, a short one this week, from the Ethiopian Book of Enoch, in the Apocrypha, taken from the ‘Earth, Culture, Roots‘ Rastafari website….
The Book of Enoch
Observe and see how (in the winter) all the trees seem as though they had withered and shed all their leaves, except fourteen trees, which do not lose their foliage but retain the old foliage from two to three years till the new comes.
One of this week’s Reasoning readings is Isaiah 42. Last week we has Isaiah 43. Last week we had awful flooding with all that rain. This week we’ve had more floods….but this time in the house! It’s a good thing for you that I have all these disasters because otherwise, during this lockdown, my letters would be very short and very dull…you know “nothing has happened, I got up had breakfast, blah blah blah”. Luckily for the contents of these letters there is always a disaster to tell you about…the house is flooded, I’ve broken my arm, I’ve dyed myself blue by accident….it’s a good thing I’m clumsy, for you but not really for me! Anyway, I will tell you about the flood disaster later. For now, Isaiah 42…
The Servant of the Lord
42 “Here is my servant, whom I uphold,
my chosen one in whom I delight;
I will put my Spirit on him,
and he will bring justice to the nations.
2 He will not shout or cry out,
or raise his voice in the streets.
3 A bruised reed he will not break,
and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.
In faithfulness he will bring forth justice;
4 he will not falter or be discouraged
till he establishes justice on earth.
In his teaching the islands will put their hope.”
5 This is what God the Lord says—
the Creator of the heavens, who stretches them out,
who spreads out the earth with all that springs from it,
who gives breath to its people,
and life to those who walk on it:
6 “I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness;
I will take hold of your hand.
I will keep you and will make you
to be a covenant for the people
and a light for the Gentiles,
7 to open eyes that are blind,
to free captives from prison
and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.
8 “I am the Lord; that is my name!
I will not yield my glory to another
or my praise to idols.
9 See, the former things have taken place,
and new things I declare;
before they spring into being
I announce them to you.”
10 Sing to the Lord a new song,
his praise from the ends of the earth,
you who go down to the sea, and all that is in it,
you islands, and all who live in them.
11 Let the wilderness and its towns raise their voices;
let the settlements where Kedar lives rejoice.
Let the people of Sela sing for joy;
let them shout from the mountaintops.
12 Let them give glory to the Lord
and proclaim his praise in the islands.
13 The Lord will march out like a champion,
like a warrior he will stir up his zeal;
with a shout he will raise the battle cry
and will triumph over his enemies.
I saw this ⬆️ a couple of weeks ago and I’ve thought about it ever since. This lockdown affects us all in so many different ways. I know you have to face some very harsh circumstances. For me, with a daughter in palliative care, we have not been out of the house, seen family and friends for such a long time. There are really odd things about now. I get my shopping delivered….you should see the gloves, masks, disinfectant, hand washing etc that goes into a shop arriving, it’s like some alien version of real life. It’s really scary too…my daughter wouldn’t stand a chance against this virus. I’ve noticed though, the difference in the way I think about the day affects the way I live the day. If I head into it thanking God for my blessings, like our group has taught me, then I live the day thankfully. I hope there are things that you are all able to be thankful for…..and I really look forward to when some normality returns and we can re-start the meetings!
This week it is the anniversary of Bob Marley’s birth (6th February 1945). I found this article in The Guardian. It was written this time last year, what would have been his 75th birthday, and talks of Bob Marley’s incredible legacy…
Bob Marley at 75: how a ghetto reggae star rebranded Jamaica
Seeing fans and family gather in Kingston to celebrate the late musician’s 75th birthday, music writer Vivien Goldman reflects on his indelible legacy
At 7am on 6 February, on what would have been Bob Marley’s 75th birthday, the abeng conch shell blows at his old home at uptown Kingston’s 56 Hope Road – now the Bob Marley museum – as it did in the days of the long-gone indigenous Taino tribe, and later as a call to slave uprisings on the plantation.
Today, the museum is the Jamaican capital’s hottest tourist ticket, drawing more than 60,000 visitors a year. But in the turbulent 1970s, when the downtown area was torn between superpower ideologies and their local paymasters, it was audacious of Marley to insert his ragtag “ghetto star” Rasta crew into Hope Road – also home to Jamaica’s prime minister – a process he described to me in the 1970s as “bringing the ghetto uptown”. He hoped to make a safe space for the gangs of youth who were controlled on their home turf by opposing political forces: it worked, at least until gunmen tried to kill him there in 1976. It worked again when he triumphantly returned later in the decade to build a studio.
Witnessing police politely dealing with the crowd gathered for the Marley 75 celebration offered a strange disconnect: back then, their presence outside the gates would have suggested a raid. These are different times, as evidenced by the MC who announces: “Big up to all the Airbnb-ers in Trench Town!” – the dangerous downtown “ghetto” of Marley’s teenage years. His message and mystique have mobilised a peaceful army of international followers, such as those holidaymakers venturing where few wealthy Kingstonians go.
The music at Hope Road shows how Marley helped lay the foundation for the island’s enduring music industry, as a new generation of voices such as Jesse Royal, Kelissa and Kim Nain perform alongside Bob’s original bred’ren including Bongo Herman, Marcia Griffiths and Toots of the Maytals. Alone with a guitar, Toots explains that “Bob Marley was my friend” and had liked 54-46 Was My Number, the 1960s gem that thrills the crowd.
The celebration features a strong focus on family. Rita Marley, Bob’s widow, puts in a regal appearance from her wheelchair during the daytime children’s event, as pupils from St Andrew prep school sing and dance to Redemption Song, while the night’s show was headlined by the Marley Brothers, Julian and Ky-Mani, and dynamically led by Damien Marley, who crowned the night with a deft mix of authority and playfulness.
Marley’s estate is one of music’s biggest earners: the event was supported and organised by the Bob Marley Foundation, with similar festivities taking place in London, Lagos, Los Angeles, Singapore, Paris, Hawaii and New Zealand. What has made Bob Marley’s music settle so bone-deep worldwide? Following Marley’s powerful template, there can be a tendency for artists to become didactic, plodding in their litany of social woes. That was never Marley’s way. He was proud of the chop of his rhythm guitar, but it was his skill at sugarcoating the toughest frontline communiques in sticky melodies that is arguably his creative essence.
As Marley once explained to me, he wanted to make his music so simple that a child could sing it. Babies famously respond to the directness of his music, and reggae’s heartbeat has been credited with healing properties: Marissa “Mar” Lelogeais, an American living with cerebral palsy and reduced vision, sang about how Marley’s music had freed her to accept her body on the song Embrace It.
Above all, Marley effected a triumphant cultural flip, one founded on political truth but also will and vision. At Hope Road, Brother Westie, a Nyabinghi (Rasta) priest clad in dramatic white robes, intones prayers in Amharic. When he invokes Igziabeher, a name for the Rasta deity Jah Rastafari, he demonstrates that change in action: when Marley was the age of the attentive, uniformed school children sat before Brother Westie, he never learned the history of his own island or people. The postwar Wailers generation came up with a British colonial education that taught them more about the Battle of Hastings in 1066 than pan-African history. Marley was a leader among Rasta artists who painstakingly researched and pieced together their concealed past and communicated it in music so effectively that it became the new orthodoxy – certainly where the island’s official cultural representation is concerned. Once reviled as “dutty Rastas”, they have become crucial to the island’s brand.
Though the Marley machine has made efforts to defang the lion by focusing on his more feelgood crowdpleasers – the One Love effect – his commitment to the sufferer, and unflinching confrontation of unpalatable truths as he saw them, is ever more necessary: a cause for continued celebrations like these in Kingston.
This week’s prayer is the Courage Prayer, taken from the H.I.M. Church website….
Rastalogical Prayer to His Imperial Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie I
I will praise thee, O LORD, Emperor Haile Selassie I, with my whole heart; I will show
forth all thy marvelous works.
I will be glad and rejoice in thee; I will sing praise to thy name, Emperor Haile
Selassie I, O thou most High.
When mine enemies are turned back, they shall fall and perish at thy presence.
For thou hast maintained my right and my cause; thou satest in the throne judging
Thou hast rebuked the heathen, thou hast destroyed the wicked, thou hast put out
their name for ever and ever.
O thou enemy, destructions are come to a perpetual end; and thou hast destroyed
cities; their memorial is perished with them.
But the LORD, Emperor Haile Selassie I, shall endure for ever; he hath prepared his
throne for judgment.
And He shall minister judgment to the people in uprightness.
The LORD, Emperor Haile Selassie I, also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge
in times of trouble.
And they that know thy name, Emperor Haile Selassie I, will put their trust in thee;
for thou, LORD, Emperor Haile Selassie I, has not forsaken them that seek thee.
LORD, Emperor Haile Selassie I, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in
thy holy hill?
He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his
For from the rising of the Sun (Friday morning) even unto the going down of the same
(Sunday evening), my name, Emperor Haile Selassie I, shall be great among the
Gentiles; and in every place incense shall be offered unto my name, Emperor Haile
Selassie I, and a pure offering; for my name, Emperor Haile Selassie I, shall be great
among the heathen, saith the LORD of hosts.
Blessed be JAH, Rastafari, Emperor Haile Selassie I Liveth!
So, this week’s disaster….the flooding! (This one is weird!!)
My daughter and I were curled up on the old armchair in the kitchen, with a cup of tea, watching YouTube…its what she and I sometimes do together in the evening. She loves reggae and we were listening to Chronixx (she loves Tenement Yard and Spanish Town Rockin’) and suddenly we heard water flowing and my sausage dog Dilys barking. My daughter just thought it was the tap left running and went through to the bathroom. She shouted for help…there was scalding hot water rushing out of the loft, down the walls, through the ceiling! Priorities!….get the cold water feed to the house switched down. Then investigate…. the hot water is not from under the hot water tank, so its not a problem with the tank. But it is absolutely pouring, and its scalding, so investigating is difficult….
It’s from a pipe that seems to be just cut off. It’s not a burst pipe, there’s no ‘other end’ that has got detached….and it’s coming through from next door?! Our house used to be one bigger house with next door but it was split into 2 houses years ago. So Pete headed over to next door and realised that when the houses were split, the two heating and hot water systems were split, but the plumber, instead of doing a proper job had just cut the pipe between the two and switched an isolator to off. Next door had some plumbing done that day, the plumber must have turned the isolator so that when the system was switched back on, it emptied into my house…right onto all my clean washing! The upside is that with all that very hot water on it, the floor is sparkling clean, but the loft insulation has had to go and I have a huge pile of soggy washing to re-wash.
Who would just cut the pipe between the two houses??? I would like to meet the wombat that did that!
Right, I have to get started on my college course reading, mixed in with changing the washing in the machine around…..only about 45 loads of washing left to go!