February 17th 2021

Hi,

Here we go again….still lockdown. I can’t imagine much worse than being locked up with my rubbish to keep you occupied (actually I can…my singing! )

My son would have something to say about this…he is about to do something either very brave or very stupid. He is about to trust me in lockdown with a pair of scissors and his hair. He’s hoping for a long lockdown after this so he can grow out whatever I do to his hair before he has to go back to school. So, before I fire up the power tools and sharpen the saw, I will get our usual resources together….

Kebra Negast

51. How he said unto ZADOK the Priest, “Go and bring the Covering (or, Clothing) which is upon it (i.e., ZION)” And he said unto ZADOK the priest, “Go, bring that covering which is upon ZION, and take thee this covering which is better than that, and lay it over the two [coverings] which are below it.” (Now this covering was made of threads of the finest gold wirework twisted together and hammered out into a pattern, and they were not woven like the threads of purple.) “And the five mice2 which were given to ZION, and the ten3 figures of their shame (i.e., the emerods) which the nobles of the PHILISTINES made for their redemption-now on the fringes are figures of gold that came forth from the land of ḲÂDÊS, which MOSES in SINAI commanded should be made (or, worked) in the fringe of the apparel of AARON his brother-gather [all these] together in the covering of ZION and give [them] to my son DAVID. For his mother said in [her] message by TÂMRÎN her servant, ‘Give us some of the fringe of the covering of ZION, so that we may worship it, we and those who are in subjection unto us and all our kingdom.’ And now, give it to him, and say unto him, ‘Take [and] worship this covering of ZION, for thy mother sent a message concerning this, and hath said unto thee thyself, ‘Give us some of the fringe of its covering, which we can worship, so that we may not, like the heathen, worship another [god].’ And ZION, the Tabernacle of the Law of God, shall be unto thee a guide wheresoever thou art. But it must remain with us perpetually, although we have not paid it all the honour which is its due; and you, although it be not with you, must honour it, and revere it according to what is due to it and what is meet. For God said unto ELI by the mouth of SAMUEL the Prophet, ‘I wished you to remain, thou and thy father’s house, to offer up incense to the Tabernacle of My Law, and to dwell before Me for ever, but now I have repented. I will turn My face away from thee because thou hast treated My offerings with contempt, and hast preferred thy sons to Me. And now, him that honoureth Me I will honour, and him that esteemeth Me lightly I will esteem lightly; and I will destroy all thy seed.’1 This He said because the LEVITES had esteemed Him lightly. And say unto him: Take this covering of ZION, and this votive gift shall be in the place of it, and place it in thy sanctuary. And when thou takest an oath and makest another to take an oath, swear thou and make him to swear by it, so that thou dost not make mention of the names of other gods of the heathen. And when thou sacrificest let thy face be towards us, and sacrifice to JERUSALEM and the holy ZION; and when thou prayest let thy face be towards JERUSALEM, and pray towards us.”

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Reasoning

Command

Deuteronomy 4 v35, 39
35
Unto thee it was showed, that thou mightest know that the LORD, Emperor Haile Selassie I, is God; there is none else beside him.
39 Know therefore this day, and consider it in thine heart, that the
LORD, Emperor Haile Selassie I, in heaven above, and upon the earth
beneath there is none else.

Will

Psalm 102 v18
18
This shall be written for the generation to come: and the people which shall be created shall praise the LORD, Emperor Haile
Selassie I
.

Desire

James 3 v17-18
17
But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits,
without partiality, and without hypocrisy.
18 And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make
peace.

Wish

Jeremiah 31 v33
33
But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, Emperor Haile Selassie I, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts;
and will be their God, and they shall be my people.

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Here is this week’s passage from The Apocrypha…

Book of Enoch: Chapter 5

1 Observe ye how the trees cover themselves with green leaves and bear fruit: wherefore give ye heed and know with regard to all His works, and recognize how He that liveth for ever hath made them so.

2 And all His works go on thus from year to year for ever, and all the tasks which they accomplish for Him, and their tasks change not, but according as God hath ordained so is it done.

3 And behold how the sea and the rivers in like manner accomplish and change not their tasks from His commandments’.

4 But ye -ye have not been steadfast, nor done the commandments of the Lord,
But ye have turned away and spoken proud and hard words
With your impure mouths against His greatness.
Oh, ye hard-hearted, ye shall find no peace.

5 Therefore shall ye execrate your days,
And the years of your life shall perish,
And the years of your destruction shall be multiplied in eternal execration,
And ye shall find no mercy.

6a In those days ye shall make your names an eternal execration unto all the righteous,
b And by you shall all who curse, curse,
And all the sinners and godless shall imprecate by you,
7c And for you the godless there shall be a curse.

6d And all the . . . shall rejoice,
e And there shall be forgiveness of sins,
f And every mercy and peace and forbearance:
g There shall be salvation unto them, a goodly light.

I And for all of you sinners there shall be no salvation,
j But on you all shall abide a curse.
7a But for the elect there shall be light and joy and peace,
b And they shall inherit the earth.

8 And then there shall be bestowed upon the elect wisdom,
And they shall all live and never again sin,
Either through ungodliness or through pride:
But they who are wise shall be humble.

9 And they shall not again transgress,
Nor shall they sin all the days of their life,
Nor shall they die of (the divine) anger or wrath,
But they shall complete the number of the days of their life.

And their lives shall be increased in peace,
And the years of their joy shall be multiplied,
In eternal gladness and peace,
All the days of their life.

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I found this in the Earth, Culture, Roots website and thought that it was good to read…

Yard word

from Ras Charles, published in “One World Beat” July, 2005

The true worship of God is a continuous action. Everything we do and create has to reflect the righteousness of God, so what caused the chosen of God to fall into a state of moral and mental decomposition? How did it happen in such condition?

How do we see ourselves, what is our vision, what are our aspirations, who is leading us, what kind of learning influences our thoughts, what are we doing to cause oneself to relate to us? How do we see others, as equals or as prey? What is preventing people from seeking the truth? Are their religious affiliations structured to prevent the influence of truth in their lives?

The lives of people (not all) are full of evil today, but they fail to recognize it, because their concept of evil has changed. Through deception, they visualize evil as being accepted as it is every event how the Devil has deceived the whole world into worshiping him and not God. The Devil has been successful in his craftiness by causing man/ woman to disassociate himself/ herself from the worship of God.

Only when we truly overstand how cultural expression determines worship, will we totally comprehend how to build and live in this world where all of the people love and worship God. Since the greatest obstacle preventing our reconciliation with God will be the Devil, it stands to reason that we must recognize the character and culture that reveal His presence and influence.

Let us note that a world under the Devil’s influence characterized by widespread degeneration, reducing the people far below ordinary standards of civilized life and conduct. “It has been the inaction of those who could have acted, the indifference of those who should have known better, the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most, that has made it possible for evil to triumph.”

What you are is God’s gift to you, what you become is your gift to God.

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I love that…

What you are is Gods gift to you, what you become is your gift to God.

We have just had Pancake Day and there was chaos here! My son and Pete had a pancake competition. They made a load of the mixture each, to their own ‘secret’ recipe and set to with a frying pan to make a ton of pancakes. By the end, the kitchen was covered in sticky sugar, lemon, syrup, pancake, it looked like bags of flour had exploded, the floor was crunchy from spilt sugar and we all decided we couldn’t eat a single mouthful more of pancake til next Pancake Day.

We sat round the table talking about what we were doing for Lent. My husband has decided that he is going to give up ‘surplus cheese’…that is cheese that isn’t part of a meal and is just a fridge raid (he’s addicted to cheese and eats way more than he should), my son is giving up ‘too many biscuits’ but wisely decided not to define ‘too many’ so he could change the definition according to how many biscuits he wants 😊.

My 2 daughters and I were undecided but now I have read those words above…’what you become is your gift to God’, I think that’s what I’m going to try. I’m going to work on ‘becoming’. In the last couple of months, the bible verses I’ve included in these letters have been advice about what to become, the wisdom of a father to his children, how to lead a wise life. In fact, this week’s Reasoning ‘Desire’ verse, from James 3:17-18 is about how to live a wise life. This is what I think we should try to do..instead of giving up something that really makes no difference, we should try to live a life that is a gift to God.

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Bible Verse

So, fitting in with the idea of living a life that is a gift to God, the bible verse for this week I’m going to put in is an extension of the verse from James 3…

Two Kinds of Wisdom

13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth.15 Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.

17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 18 Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.

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Prayer

This week’s prayer is from KenyaTalk Rastafari Website…

I pray to thee, Almighty God, Jah Rastafari, King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Conquering Lion of the tribe of Judah.

That the words of mine own mouth as well the meditations of mine own heart be acceptable in thy sight.

That thou givest me strenght in my hour of weakness, wisdom in my hour of foolishness, patience in my hour of vex, understanding in my hour of confusion, grace and forgiveness in my hour of judgement.

Amen. Amen. Amen.

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I thought you might be interested in this…

Why do we eat pancakes on Shrove Tuesday?

In Christian traditions, the 40 days before Easter are known as Lent, and they mark the time that Jesus spent fasting in the desert. Traditionally, Christians would mark the period with prayers and fasting, abstaining from a whole range of foods, including meat, eggs, fish, fats and milk. The word ‘shrove’ comes from the old Roman Catholic practice of being ‘shriven’ – meaning to confess one’s sins. The shriving bell would be rung on Shrove Tuesday to call people to church to confess.

Before Lent could begin in earnest, all edible temptations needed to be removed. This took place over a period of days known as ‘Shrovetide’. Meat such as bacon would be eaten up on ‘Collop Monday’ (a collop is a thin slice of meat). And on Shrove Tuesday eggs, butter and stocks of fat would be used up. One of the easiest ways to dispose of these items was to turn them into pancakes or fritters, a custom which continued long after the Church of England separated from the Roman Catholic Church in the 16th century.

The Monday and Tuesday before Lent were periods of great festivity before the coming days of abstinence. Children would go ‘Shroving’ or ‘Lent-crocking’ on Shrove Tuesday (or the night before), knocking on their neighbours’ doors and singing. Sometimes they would bring shards of crockery or stones with them to throw at householders who refused to give them anything!

The origin of pancake races

As well as giving up “luxury” foods, the faithful were expected to forego fun pastimes such as dancing and playing games like football. Therefore, Shrovetide (the four days preceding Lent) was a time for merriment.

A legacy of these festivities is the pancake race. Dating from around 1445, legend has it that a local woman heard the shriving bell while she was making pancakes and ran to church in her apron, still clutching her frying pan.

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The great hair cutting has happened. I don’t think I made it look too bad. The problem was what he wanted….he wanted a mullet. Really, a mullet! I didn’t think i would ever see one of those again after the early 1990’s and I didn’t think it was any loss to hair styles generally, either. He, and his friends who all have similar, think that the mullet is the new great fashion statement. I’m unconvinced.

The snowdrops are in full flower here and the daffodils in the woods are all sprouted and are thinking about flowering. This week my husband put up the bird feeder and bird box I bought him for Valentines Day. Where he sits to work, he looks out of the window into the garden and he has been watching a pair of robins on the bird feeder. So I bought him a robin bird box for nesting and a robin feeder. I also (so romantic!) bought him a bucket of mealworms (and a scoop so he didn’t have to touch them) because mealworms are robins’ favourite food.

The robin feeder

I am not expecting the robins to nest in the box this year. Usually they will scope out a nesting site in the autumn, ready for spring nesting, so this one hasn’t been up long enough. I’m hoping though that if I provide nice tasty (to robins!) mealworms, then they will stay around and hopefully nest here next year.

This week Anya, my husband’s dog, has been in trouble. I was busy sorting out our meal the other night and turned around to discover that Anya had boinged so high, just like a Harrier jump jet, and landed on the kitchen surface next to me. She hadn’t needed to scramble up, just boinged and landed, so she was almost silent, even with my bionic ears in, and took advantage of that by nicking our food!

Last week, one evening when it was pouring down with rain, my husband and I went out with Anya in the car to drop something at the post box. When we got back Anya refused to get out because she didn’t want to get her paws wet. She’s supposed to be a hunting dog but she’s such a princess! I started towards the house and turned round to see this…

She has Pete wrapped around her paw!! A farm dog being carried in because she didn’t want to get her paws wet…she’s ridiculous!

Right, I better get this sent off to chaplaincy. The number of COVID cases are dropping, the vaccination programme is well underway…..hopefully we will be able to re-start meetings soon.

Blessings,

Elizabeth

January 18th 2021

Hi,

Lots of exciting things have been going on here this week….there have been works done and decisions made. The first is….our living room, where my husband Pete now has his desk, is really cold. No, actually freezing! Cold enough to put my children off watching tv. It’s the room in the house that has the tv in it and when we first moved in the children used to take their blankets and a dog each in, wrap up and watch tv til they (or the dog) started shivering. Over time they have watched less and less, their appetite for watching programmes taken away by an endurance test nearly equal to a polar expedition needed, even in the summer. Now because of lockdown, its not just the tv room, its Pete’s office as well and he and his dog Anya set off to that room each day wrapped up like they are going to climb Mount Everest and still come back out hours later shivering. So this week we have had a stove put in….

It makes SUCH a difference! Then, in that room, there is a big bay window with a sort of plastic roof to it which lets in loads of cold air…so that was the next project, a new roof with lots of insulation on there and then choosing a colour to paint the room…this one….

The other big decision has been….my son has decided to save up to spend his money on materials to build a chicken house and buy some hens. Years ago we used to have hens, I used to love having them around the place. They ran to get kitchen scraps when they were called and we had one really tame one called Mab who sat on the children’s laps when they were on the swing. One of them, called Blodwen, was really greedy and if the children had a picnic in the garden she would leap and steal food out of their hands and then run as flat out as a very round hen could manage (it looked so funny to see her waddle at high speed down the garden) to eat her ‘catch’ in peace. We had one called Queenie, after Steve McQueen in the Great Escape, who could escape any pen we put her in. The three children had a hen each…my eldest daughter had Rosemary who was really gentle and liked to be stroked, my middle daughter had Tinkerbell who laid blue eggs (!) and my son had a hen called….erm…..Zebra (?!?!) So, I’m looking forward to having hens in the garden again…and to having proper fresh eggs, instead of supermarket ones.

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Kebra Negast

47. Concerning the offering of AZÂRYÂS (AZARIAH) and the King And YÔ‛ÂS (BENAIAH), the son of YÔDÂḤÊ, went and told King SOLOMON, and the King rejoiced over it and commanded them to make ready the altar of offering so that his son might sacrifice. And he brought and gave unto him that which he had vowed to God, one hundred bulls, one hundred oxen, ten thousand sheep, ten thousand goats, and ten of every kind of animal that may be eaten, and ten of every kind of clean bird, so that he might offer libations and sacrifices to the God of ISRAEL; and twenty silver sâḥal of fine white flour, each weighing twelve shekels, and forty baskets of bread. All these things did SOLOMON the King give unto his son DAVID. And again DAVID sent a message saying, “Let AZÂRYÂS the priest offer up sacrifice on my behalf”; and SOLOMON said unto him, “Do that which thou wishest.” And AZÂRYÂS rejoiced because of this thing, and he went and brought from his father’s flock an ox whereon never yoke had been laid, and four yearlings of the goats and four clean yearlings of the sheep. And the king went to offer up sacrifice, and the priests made themselves ready, and the poor folk were gathered together, and the birds of the heavens rejoiced, and they were all united in their great gladness that day. And AZÂRYÂS mingled [his offerings] with the offerings of the king, and he made an offering with his vessels, even as the Angel of God had commanded him to do by night. And then, after they had offered up their sacrifices, they went back to their houses and slept.

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As usual I have taken the Reasoning from HIMchurch.org website. I love the ‘wish’ verse for this week, from Lamentations, and I think that it fits really well with my choice of psalm.

Throughout the psalms, whether in difficult circumstances or quieter, more joyful times King David didn’t stop talking to God. He argued, reminded, nagged even but he still didn’t stop talking or praising Him. And here we are in difficult circumstances. I ask how you all are and how you are coping and hear things back like, only 45 minutes unlocked each day (and I hope you even manage that!!). I can’t imagine how that feels, on and on, relentlessly. I can only pray that you are all managing and support the best I can through these letters. I think back to the noisy, interesting Reasonings we have had and can only offer you this…

Reasoning

Command

Zechariah 12 v1
1
The burden of the word of the LORD for Israel, saith the LORD, which stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man within him.

Will

Ecclesiastes 3 v18, 21
18
I said in mine heart concerning the estate of the sons of men, that God might manifest them, and that they might see that they themselves are beasts.
21 Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth?

Desire

1 Peter 3 v4
4
But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.

Wish

Lamentation 3 v40-41
40
Let us search and try our ways, and turn again to the LORD, Emperor Haile Selassie I.
41 Let us lift up our heart with our hands unto God, Emperor Haile Selassie I, in the heavens.

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This week I have been reading psalm 33. It’s a beautiful psalm, reminding me of our meetings…. “Sing to him a new song; play skillfully, and shout for joy”. It is a psalm all about praise: verses 1 to 3 calling people to praise; verses 4 to 19 give us why we should praise: the last verses, verses 20 to 22, round off the praise. In difficult times, it reminded me of the hugeness of Creation and JAH’s power….

Psalm 33

1 Sing joyfully to the Lord, you righteous;
it is fitting for the upright to praise him.
2 Praise the Lord with the harp;
make music to him on the ten-stringed lyre.
3 Sing to him a new song;
play skillfully, and shout for joy.

4 For the word of the Lord is right and true;
he is faithful in all he does.
5 The Lord loves righteousness and justice;
the earth is full of his unfailing love.

6 By the word of the Lord the heavens were made,
their starry host by the breath of his mouth.
7 He gathers the waters of the sea into jars[a];
he puts the deep into storehouses.
8 Let all the earth fear the Lord;
let all the people of the world revere him.
9 For he spoke, and it came to be;
he commanded, and it stood firm.

10 The Lord foils the plans of the nations;
he thwarts the purposes of the peoples.
11 But the plans of the Lord stand firmforever,
the purposes of his heart through all generations.

12 Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord,
the people he chose for his inheritance.
13 From heaven the Lord looks down
and sees all mankind;
14 from his dwelling place he watches
all who live on earth—
15 he who forms the hearts of all,
who considers everything they do.

16 No king is saved by the size of his army;
no warrior escapes by his great strength.
17 A horse is a vain hope for deliverance;
despite all its great strength it cannot save.
18 But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him,
on those whose hope is in his unfailing love,
19 to deliver them from death
and keep them alive in famine.

20 We wait in hope for the Lord;
he is our help and our shield.
21 In him our hearts rejoice,
for we trust in his holy name.
22 May your unfailing love be with us, Lord,
even as we put our hope in you.

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Next, here is a poem by Marcus Garvey…

A Rallying Song

Oh glorious race of mighty men,
The homeland calls to you;
Our fathers wrought with faith divine,
So let us march in line. (Refrain)

If foe we meet across the way,
Our courage hold on high,
For Victory is near at hand,
So march ye with the band.
Refrain: Oh glorious race, Etc

Old Africa is calling you,
So wave the banner high;
No foe shall win the glorious day,
Shout ye, and march and pray.
Refrain: Oh glorious race, Etc.

Our God is leading us away,
And land and seas divide,
For hosts are here in royal form,
March on and fear no storm.
Refrain: Oh glorious race, Etc.

New Africa beholds the sight,
The world will tremble then,
Good men of might will worship God
And bless the heaving sod.
Refrain: Oh glorious race, Etc.

Tell the people everywhere you go,
“The day is here again,”
The Ethiopian’s God appears
To deal with all affairs.

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This next piece is from the Rastafarism website. I know I have put a lot of biographies of His Imperial Majesty in these letters, but I think many of them shed different lights on aspects of His life and beliefs. I thought this next piece was particularly interestingly written….

His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie. King of Ethiopia (1892 – 1975)

Him

His Imperial Majesty HAILE SELASSIE I, King of Kings, Lord of Lords, elect of God, conquering Lion of the tribe of Judah : Jacob said in his Benediction almost four thousand years ago that , the scripture shall not depart from Judah, nor the lawgiver from between his feet until Shiloh come. King Selassie I is the three hundred and thirteen king of all the kings of Ethiopia and the one hundred and thirteenth king of the christian empire. He is also the 225th in a direct bloodline of the Ethiopian monarch, Menelik being the first. Menelik was the son of Queen of Sheba and king Solomon who is the son of David king of Israel. “Prince shall come out of Egypt, and Ethiopia shall soon stretch out her hand unto JAH” (psalm 68.vrs:31) “And one of the elder said unto me, weep not, behold the LION of the tribe of judah, the root of king David hath prevailed to open the book and to loose the seven seals thereof” (rev. 5 ver:5). On July 23, 1892 Tafari makonnen who later become HIM, Haile Selassie I, the Conquering lion of judah, was born in Ejersa goro, a mountain village outside of Harer in the year of John. HIM father was Ras Makonnen the cousin of menelik 11, and his mother was Yishimabet who’s parents married in 1876. Upon the death of his mother he (HIM) Haile Selassie as he was then given that title, (Tafari makonnen) was raised by his cousin Ras Imru. He then was sent to live with Emperor menelik11 in 1906. On july 31, 1911 he married Wayzaro menen, the granddaughter of Ras Mikael. She had 3 sons and 3 daughters (it is very important and interesting to know that ). HIM name means the “power of the Holy Trinity”‘, Also note the significance of the number three (3). HIM is called the “King of Kings” (Negus) and it make it very clear what that title means: It does not matter your race or nationality, the reignship of Jah goes beyond ones nation or culture. Read HIM speech “War” and you will see that the color of the skin has no more significance than the color of the eyes. HIM also used his authority to work towards righteousness, justice and equality to all African people in exile. Just as the good shepherd gather his sheep so does HIM , Selassie I proved to be like a shepherd for the children of AFRICA at home and abroad. None can deny the good words spread by Haile Selassie. Him says are not only for ethiopians, africans, or rastas. But for all humanity. Each one of us can learn studying Him words.

HIM fighted against racism, poverty, miseducation, violence. He was for religious tolerance, really, not like the so-called Pope in Rome (see the “spiritual kinsmen” speech). Him struggled for african unity and originated the African Unity Organisation. He struggled for his country against Italians. He was the shepherd protecting his sheeps against fascists wolves (see the Marcus Garvey page). HIM also launched a program to translate Bible from ancient ethiopian scriptures to ordinary ethiopian language. People need to know that Ethiopia was one of the first christian country. Half of the story has never been told. And the other part is often manipulated and disguised… There is so much we could write and talk about HIM but that would take more than a lifetime to do so. Read Matt. 7 ver 7. There is nothing more worthwhile and rewarding in life than to work for the benefit of others. One can get more pleasure from giving than from receiving if it is done with LOVE . Those who have had the opportunity to learn should always be at the disposal of those who have not had its benefit and it should not only be for individuals, but for the entier community at large. The words of the Almighty in the Holy Bible say: give and it shall be given unto you: is worth observing in your daily life. It is I firm belief that if you forgot self-love and self-indulgence and break away from all this worldly desires, you will be able to make great contribution to yourself, your family, community and your country. May the Almighty Jah, the God of Jacob, Abraham, Issac, Moses and Yeshua (Jesus Christ) the son, bless guide and protect you as you walk in his Light.

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Prayer

This is taken from the Rastafari website ‘Earth Culture Roots’…

You alone are God (“anta Amlak bahetiteka”)

You alone are God,
You were from of old,
And You will be until eternity, always, first and last,
Now and always for ever and ever.
As for You, You are the same, and Your epoch will not come to an end;
As for You, You are the same, and Your kingdom will not be abolished,
And Your power is invincible,
And Your strength is untiring,
And Your magnificence will not be humbled,
And the splendour of Your name will not be dispelled,
And the praise of Your exalted fame will not be diminished,
And Your light will not be darkened,
And Your decree will not be abrogated,
The pillar of Your word will not be overthrown,
And Your wisdom will not fall into error,
And Your counsel will not be concealed.
You alone are God, God of all;
You alone are God, Lord of all;
You alone are God, King of all;
You alone are God, Creator of all;
You alone are God, Conqueror of all;
You alone are God, Omnipotent;
You alone are God, Slayer of all;
You alone are God, Destroyer of all;
You alone are God, Saviour of all;
You alone are God, Life of all;
You alone are God, Sustainer of all;
You alone are God, Protector of all;
You alone are God, Restorer of all;
You alone are God, Raiser of all;
You alone are God, Supporter of all;
You alone are God, Helper of all;
You alone are God, A righteous God over all creation.

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This week, on the 25th January, it is Santes Dwynwen’s Day. She is the Welsh saint of love, a bit like Valentine….but far, far cooler of course because she is Welsh. I found the story of St. Dwynwen for you. This is written by Ben Johnson for Historic-uk website….

St Dwynwen’s Day is celebrated in Wales on 25 January. But who was St Dwynwen?

St Dwynwen is the Welsh patron saint of lovers, which makes her the Welsh equivalent of St Valentine.

Dwynwen lived during the 5th century and legend has it that she was one of the prettiest of Brychan Brycheiniog’s 24 daughters. Dwynwen fell in love with a prince called Maelon Dafodrill, but unfortunately her father had already arranged that she should marry someone else.

Dwynwen was so upset that she could not marry Maelon that she begged God to make her forget him. After falling asleep, Dwynwen was visited by an angel, who appeared carrying a sweet potion designed to erase all memory of Maelon and turn him into a block of ice.

God then gave three wishes to Dwynwen. Her first wish was that Maelon be thawed; her second that God meet the hopes and dreams of true lovers; and third, that she should never marry. All three were fulfilled, and as a mark of her thanks, Dwynwen devoted herself to God’s service for the rest of her life.

She founded a convent on Llanddwyn, off the west coast of Anglesey, where a well named after her became a place of pilgrimage after her death in 465AD. Visitors to the well believed that the sacred fish or eels that lived in the well could foretell whether or not their relationship would be happy and whether love and happiness would be theirs. Remains of Dwynwen’s church can still be seen today.

*

…hmmm, sacred eels?? Not sure about that!

This week has been full of weather drama. In one day we had such awful quantities of rain that the house started to flood. My son had to go and clear all the drains, clear the branches that had been washed down the stream that runs through our garden so the water flowed down rather than pooling and we put barricades of rubble to protect the house. Then, once that had caused problems, it stopped and then started to snow instead…huge heavy flakes of snow that added up really quickly until we had a decent covering of snow. Then the wind got up. The following day it was bright sunshine and cold….in 24 hours we had pretty much everything!

Anya, Pete’s puppy, thought it was AMAZING! She paddled and gallumphed and swam and generally got soaked through in muddy water, which she thought was great. At least someone enjoyed it. Dilys, my sausage dog, crawled under her blankets and tried not to move for a whole 24 hours.

I am having difficulty concentrating on getting this written….my son has decided that Lenny smells and that he needs a bath (it is true, he’s a bit of a stinky staffy). Lenny has decided he doesn’t want a bath and that I might save him. So he keeps running away, thundering down the stairs like a herd of hippos, charging through the house and landing like a dead weight on my lap. The problem is that as this keeps on happening he’s getting more and more covered in soap and is now a slippery staffy and very difficult to catch! My keyboard in covered in soap and the kitchen floor is a health and safety hazard. I think I might need to go and take charge of this circus, confine the staffy to a collar so my son can keep hold of him and do something about the dangerous floor before something bad happens.

Right, I’m off to do my staffy-herding duties. Take care all of you!

Blessings,

Elizabeth

January 12th 2021

And they shall all belong to God,

And they shall be prospered,

And they shall all be blessed.

~Enoch 1:8

Hi,

SNOW!!!!

Proper snow!

We had two whole days of heavy snow and the whole landscape turned white. It was stunningly beautiful. I love the snow-hush…the quiet after the snow has fallen, when all the noise is all absorbed by the blanket of it. The ponies quite enjoy the snow and play in it. Netty, the older horse….she’s a Welsh Cob that my son brought home as a rescue, kicks up her back legs and flicks the snow around, then scoots round.

It’s now all melted and we’ve got back to usual Welsh weather so everywhere is soggy and muddy, but it was beautiful while it lasted!

The nights are starting to get lighter. We are still able to take the dogs for a walk until 4.45pm. It’s a dark dusk by then, but we can still see. The ground is still so soggy though and all the dogs come back from their walks filthy with thick mud, particularly Gwen who is the bog-snorkelling retriever (should be golden retriever….usually a grim grey, sticky with mud sort of retriever). Today it has been raining heavily, solidly, all day. Anya, my husband’s dog who is only a year old and has the energy of a hyperactive toddler after eating 5 mars bars, still pestered to go for her usual 2 walks (each an hour long!) but the rest of the dogs slunk in their baskets hoping no one would say the w-a-l-k word.

I am typing this with Gwen (a relatively clean Gwen) sat balanced on my lap. It’s really funny…we have 5 dogs, as you know (2 retrievers Gwen & Carrie, a vizsla Anya, Lenny the Liability who is a very solid staffy and Dilys, my sausage dog). Dilys is by far the smallest and is very much the boss. We think that Dilys has never seen herself in the mirror and thinks she’s huge (possibly a Doberman) and the 4 other bigger dogs all think they are tiny lap dogs. My children, when they don’t think I can hear, call Dilys the ‘doberpig’ because they say she is the top half of a Doberman and the bottom half looks like a pig….

The children and I have been glued to the news this week…its been an interesting week for world politricks , with the American impeachment and the new president’s inauguration, the new Brexit rules and the Covid vaccinations. It’s a very strange world at the moment and I wonder what it will look like when it all settles down, what will go back to how it was before and what will now have changed forever. I wonder how long it is going to be before we are able to start up meetings again…its not looking like any time soon. The news I hear from Berwyn doesn’t sound brilliant. I am so aware of how incredibly difficult it must be for you to stay isolated for such a long time, not be able to have visits, not have any of the activities you usually have. I hope these letters remind you that I am thinking of you, praying for you and hoping the situation will get better for you all.

Right, I will get started with this week’s resources…

Kebra Negast

46. How they made a plan concerning ZION And while AZÂRYÂS was asleep at night the Angel of the Lord appeared unto him, and said unto him, “Take to thee four goats, each a yearling-now they shall be for your sins, thyself, and ’ÊLMEYÂS, and ’ABÎS, and MÂKRÎ-and four pure sheep, yearlings also, and an ox whereon no yoke hath ever been laid. And thou shalt offer up the ox as a sacrifice on the east side of her (i.e., ZION), and the sheep and the goats to the right, and left thereof, and at the west of it, which is close to its exit. And your Lord DAVID shall speak to SOLOMON the King and shall say unto him, ‘One thing I ask from thee, O father, I would offer up a sacrifice to the holy city JERUSALEM, and to my Lady ZION, the holy and heavenly Tabernacle of the Law of God.’ And SOLOMON shall say unto him, ‘Do so.’ And DAVID shall say unto him, ‘Let the son of the priest offer up sacrifice on my behalf, even as he knoweth’; and he will give thee the command, and thou shalt offer up the sacrifice. And thou shalt bring forth the Tabernacle of the Law of God after thou hast offered up the sacrifice, and I will again show thee what thou shalt do in respect of it as to bringing it out; for this is from God. For ISRAEL hath provoked God to wrath, and for this reason He will make the Tabernacle of the Law of God to depart from him.”

And when AZÂRYÂS awoke from his dream he rejoiced greatly, and his heart and his mind were clear, and he remembered everything that the Angel of the Lord had shown him in the night, and how he had sealed him [with the sign of the Cross], and given him strength and heartened him. And he went to his brethren, and when they were gathered together he told them everything that the Angel of God had shown him: how the Tabernacle of the Law of God had been given to them, and how God had made blind His eye in respect of the kingdom of ISRAEL, and how its glory had been given to others, and they themselves were to take away the Tabernacle of the Law of God, and how the kingdom of SOLOMON was to be seized by them-with the exception of two “rods”, and how it was not to be left to ÎYÔRBĔ‛ÂM (REHOBOAM) his son, and how the kingdom of ISRAEL was to be divided. And [AZÂRYÂS said], “Rejoice with me. I rejoice because it hath been shown unto me thus; for the grace of their priesthood and kingdom shall depart with us, and it shall be by the Will of God. Thus said he (i.e., the Angel) unto me. And now come ye, and let us go and tell DAVID our Lord so that he may say to his father, ‘I will offer up a sacrifice.'”

And they went and told [DAVID, the son of SOLOMON] and he rejoiced, and he sent to YÔ‛AS (BENAIAH), the son of YÔDÂḤÊ, to come to him, that he might send him to his father, and he came. And DAVID sent him to his father SOLOMON, and he said unto him, “Send me away, for I will depart to my own country, together with everything that thy goodness hath given me; and may thy prayers accompany me always whithersoever I shall go. But now there is one petition which I would make unto thee, if peradventure I have found grace with thee, and turn not away thy face from me. For I thy servant am going to depart, and I wish to offer up a sacrifice of propitiation (or, salvation) for my sins in this thy holy city of JERUSALEM and of ZION, the Tabernacle of the Law of God. And peace [be] with thy majesty.”

*

Reasoning

Command

Ezekiel 43 v12
12
This is the law of the house; Upon the top of the mountain the whole limit thereof round about shall be most holy. Behold, this is the law of the house.

Will

Proverbs 9 v 1, 9-11
1
Wisdom hath builded her house, she hath hewn out her seven pillars:
9 Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: teach a just man, and he will increase in learning. 10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.
11 For by me thy days shall be multiplied, and the years of thy life shall be increased.

Desire

Exodus 15 v1-2
1
Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the LORD, and spake, saying, I will sing unto the LORD, Emperor Haile Selassie I, for he hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider hath he
thrown into the sea. 2 The LORD, Emperor Haile Selassie I, is my
strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he, Emperor Haile
Selassie I
, is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father’s
God, and I will exalt him.

Wish

Isaiah 26 v1-2
1
In that day shall this song be sung in the land of Judah; We have a strong city; salvation will God appoint for walls and bulwarks. 2 Open ye the gates, that the righteous nation which keepeth the truth may enter in.

*

I thought that this was a really interesting article from the website, ‘The Rastaites’…

Rastafari Meditation On The Birth In The History Of Israel

Israel is the firstborn of God.

He was born when he came out of the land of Egypt where he suffered because of chains and spiritual loneliness.
There he was a slave.
He lost his hope dreaming of freedom, he fought every instant to defend his identity and only through his freedom, he achieved his birth.
Running away in fact, he became the protagonist of God’s plan.
After the escape, the desert was his childhood; the ‘child’ Israel was educated with the Law.
It is not by chance in fact that in the Jewish tradition Mount Sinai is called ‘my mother’s house’ because just like a mother the Law has provided for this unique child especially in the first part of his life.
Like a child in the presence of his father, Israel makes mistakes but also good things.
Israel is praised but also punished, he is encouraged and hearten, he is in good health but sometimes he gets sick.
The Lord as a good father also supports him with physical food. Through the accuracy of the Law and the example of the Patriarchs, he guides him gradually.

The Almighty then chooses David who will give birth to the kingdom of God on Earth.
This is a new birth, a father-son election where David is led towards something he does not know.
Just like young children who have to rely on their parents because they have no other way of measuring the world and life itself.
In fact, David is chosen as a very young man.
He is educated with promises just as we do with children.

From David comes Solomon who generates Menelik I and from him the lineage of the true Israel will begin.
If we look carefully at Menelik for a moment, we can see a son who is far from his father for many years.
Until the adult age, he remains with his mother, dreams, and yearns to know his father.
He is fascinated and intrigued because he is aware of the greatness of his own father.
Menelik represents the man conscious of the greatness of the Father Creator but still too far from Him, he aspires to Him and is thirsty for His greatness but cannot reach him yet.
It is no by coincidence that only when Menelik I will be finally reunited with his father Solomon then will officially begin the new Alliance with the true Israel-Ethiopia.
This will be caused by the moving of the Ark towards the South.
Just like the human being who re-connect with the Almighty begins a new life, a new era, a new election.

When Mankind is ready, God establishes a new birth, no longer through human succession but this time is God generating God.

The Creator generates Iyasos Krestos in the fullness of the divine plan, divine power concentrated in a human person. Divine will and plan are openly manifested through this birth.
Christ is born as the element of perfect balance in Creation. He is born among his own people, among humans but yet close to animals.
This happened because He reigns over close and distant men, but also on the animal kingdom.
He is the hinge between Heaven and Earth. Christ came to share His unique state.
We the human beings are a bit like Him … we all are children just as He is a son, like a big brother He shows us the way to our common Father.
Christ spiritually generates disciples-children who subsequently enlighten and awaken people by sharing their Divine filiation and recognize themselves as new men born from the Word and the Spirit.

Here is a new birth.

As every being needs a seed to be born, here is the Word as the new seed that generates the new man.
Together with the Word there is the Spirit that strengthens it and makes it perceptible, creating a new and regenerated Mankind that can now claim the right to eternal and divine inheritance.
This new generation is born from an incorruptible and timeless seed and can finally take part to the New Creation.

After two thousand years, the Son of Man returns to earth to fulfil the vital promises: he comes to establish the moral and physical Kingdom for which he has previously prepared His sons-brothers.
In the new birth of His Imperial Majesty Qadamawi Haile Selassie, we contemplate the last and definitive salvific birth that leads us to Eternity with a new role: Mankind in fact now is collaborator of God, rules with Him.
Israel, the ancient child, was once generated, then educated and now has an occupation just as all adults have. Since the Revelation of His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie The First, Mankind works with God for the final edification of His Kingdom.

In the new Covenant with the new spiritual Israel, namely Ethiopia and the Rastafari Movement, the Creator sits at the same table of government.
This last birth has therefore generated the last mission for the definitive happiness and wellbeing of the human race.
With the Coronation of His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie The First in 1930 the final birth occurred and we know that according to Christian tradition, every birth has to have a baptism.
In that occasion, the new people were baptized and anointed with the new name.
It is not coincidence that at the same time His Majesty Ras Tafari Makonnen took on His divine and baptismal name Qadamawi Haile Selassie, Ian’ I became “the Rastafari” taking on the human name of our Father.

Ian’I Rastafari are the living testimony of a mystical, spiritual and intellectual birth, day after day we remain devoted to celebrate life.
Ian’I are born again through Word Sound and Power to be a new life every day regenerated by the Power of the Holy Trinity.
Birth is the daily experience that we live in every moment, every day the covenant regenerates us and the Spirit marks our life moments. We are warriors, protectors of life, confident and sure of the victory of good over evil.
We are like recipients of birth because through our reflections and meditations we outline the parameters of the new Kingdom.

We are children and parents.
Living this Rastafari Way of Life we manifest and keep alive the Livity. In a sense, it is as if we keep generating the Livity every day through our own experience.
At the same time, we are nourished and we learn from the same Rastafari Livity, we are servants yet custodians of a conduct of life that has the power to redeem and save our very soul.
This Rastafari life path becomes our own existence and the regulation of our lives.
We live constantly in a state of birth, whose joy now no longer ends. We live in an eternal beginning that flows undisturbed along the lines of time.
We are children and parents at the same time.

With our very life experience Ian’I generate awareness of the blessings that this life brings and manifest the righteousness that helps to live better. Every word pronounced in spirit and overstanding is a new birth for Ian’I and for the listeners too.
When Ian’ I Rastafari speak and a new brother or sister sights the faith because of our humble but instrumental words, then we contributed to birth.
trough our work and commitment in that moment the Almighty make possible for the seed that is planted in every human being to sprout and become a wonderful flower.
Ian’I can be simple vessels, humble intermediaries always ready to recognize the birth in every moment. Ready to see the new heartical way and the new life that reign over evil and death.

We spiritually rejoice as parents who every day see their son being born.
In observing the triumph of the Kingdom of God, Ian’I hearts are filled and manifest flowing joy.
Birth is the maximum fullness of novelty, and novelty is one of the characteristics of God: to be always new, always regenerated, always present but never old.
Ian’I walks in novelty and manifests it in all respects.
Our Father in fact bears a new name, Ian’I prays and speaks a new way, Ian’I read history with a new interpretation, Ian’I relates to the world with a new awareness and have a renovated world view, Ian’I also eat in a new way, Ian’I have a new physical appearance too.
Ian’I live in the fullness of an original novelty … ancient but at the same time always new.

This novelty was revealed to a new people called to bring back Mankind attention to the original people of Creation.

Ian’I are witnesses, interpreters, narrators of the divine joy on Earth, of the constant vital birth that permeates this planet, of the perennial Christmas in which our souls and our bodies live.

Selah

Ras Julio

*

I found this on a Rastafari site and remembered that a few of you have been asking for a copy of the Apocrypha. As I can’t sort that out in person at the moment, I thought you would be interested to read this. This is taken from the website ‘Earth, Culture, Roots’….

ETHIOPIAN BOOK OF ENOCH

From-The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament
R.H. Charles

1 The words of the blessing of Enoch, wherewith he blessed the elect and righteous, who will be 2 living in the day of tribulation, when all the wicked and godless are to be removed. And he took up his parable and said -Enoch a righteous man, whose eyes were opened by God, saw the vision of the Holy One in the heavens, which the angels showed me, and from them I heard everything, and from them I understood as I saw, but not for this generation, but for a remote one which is 3 for to come. Concerning the elect I said, and took up my parable concerning them:

The Holy Great One will come forth from His dwelling,
4 And the eternal God will tread upon the earth, (even) on Mount Sinai,
[And appear from His camp] And appear in the strength of His might from the heaven of heavens.

5 And all shall be smitten with fear
And the Watchers shall quake,
And great fear and trembling shall seize them unto the ends of the earth.

6 And the high mountains shall be shaken,
And the high hills shall be made low,
And shall melt like wax before the flame

7 And the earth shall be wholly rent in sunder,
And all that is upon the earth shall perish,
And there shall be a judgement upon all (men).

8 But with the righteous He will make peace.

And will protect the elect,
And mercy shall be upon them.

And they shall all belong to God,
And they shall be prospered,
And they shall all be blessed.

And He will help them all,
And light shall appear unto them,
And He will make peace with them’.

9 And behold! He cometh with ten thousands of His holy ones
To execute judgement upon all,
And to destroy all the ungodly:

And to convict all flesh
Of all the works of their ungodliness which they have ungodly committed,
And of all the hard things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.

*


Martin Luther King

“When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”

*

I put this quote in because it is a quote from a very great man and it’s the 92nd anniversary of his birth on Friday 15th….and then I thought about taking it back out again. The more I read it, the more unhappy it made me. Just in our small world, the amount of times this has been so far from the reality and also its been noticeable the seriousness of those situations. I am putting this quote here then, to remind everyone…me included…that it is no good taking the quote away because it’s upsetting, that this is the responsibility of everyone and that this is achievable, but only with everyone….”black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics,” Rastafari and their Rasta miss. This letter also goes out as a blog on wordpress… ‘lockdownletter.com’ so this is read by a wider audience, of people I don’t know & I’ve never met, and that quote is for there too.

…which brings me neatly to: I started putting these letters on a blog for all of you. It is the best I can do for you as you leave Berwyn. Some of you leave back to loving families, ready to start again. For some of you, leaving is frightening, with few resources and not much support. Whoever you are, whatever you are leaving to, when one of our group leaves…you leave with my prayers and thoughts. And then the next best thing I could do for you is provide the weekly readings and prayers to keep you close to JAH Rastafari. I know that a couple of people from our group are preparing to leave and one of the things that this awful virus has taken away is being able to meet as a group, say goodbye as a group….but as always you leave with my prayers and thoughts.

And because you are all facing tough times, because we aren’t able to meet, because some of you are leaving, because we are all at risk from this dangerous virus, because we are all at risk from strain on our mental health, because of this and also because I pray JAH’s blessings for you, today’s prayer is a blessing…

Prayer

*

I am finishing this all off in a hurry….this week has been so busy and I really want to get this sent so you all have something to read this week.

This week has been a muddle of work being done on the house (part of the roof taken off!….probably the worst week to have done it with all that rain), work on the useless electrics, poorly daughter, new term for my degree and all the new topic to get my head around (my poor brain cell hurts! 😊), Archie, my big grey cat, has been really poorly too…so I hope this letter doesn’t feel too rushed because my thoughts are still with you all. Hopefully, next week’s letter will make better sense!

Blessings,

Elizabeth

January 5th 2021

Happy New Year for the start of 2021 and Melkam Genna (Happy Christmas for Ethiopian Christmas 7th January)!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

I’m hoping that 2021 is a kinder year to all of us….its not impressing me too much so far and I guess it hasn’t impressed you either, but I’m still holding out for a better one.

I thought, given that its the start of a new year, that we could have a review of the old year together…..it was definitely a year that I wasn’t expecting!

I have been looking back on these letters that I have written to you. I started writing to you all on 24th March and since then I have written 47 letters to you….how on earth have you survived them all?!

Those who have been with me from the start of the letters have had medical dramas, gardening, a holiday, wildlife, lots of reports from the washing basket, science, music, some cats, the night sky, celebrations, Welsh saying and stories, updates from the nest outside my door, history, dogs….LOTS of dogs and some Rastafari stuff too!

That’s been the biggest unexpected part of my year. I’ve been joining your….our!…group for a year and a half before we started this year. I knew some bits and pieces about being Rastafari, the culture, beliefs and heritage but this year, while writing these letters, I have learned so much more. I have searched, researched and increased my overstanding and really enjoyed how you have all been open to sharing Rastafari culture together with my Welshness. I’ve also enjoyed being able to hear it all a bit better now I have my bionic ears!

We have had an odd year of being able to meet, no meetings…only letters, some meeting, meeting again, no meetings….only visits and letters. What has been noticeable about our group, above all other groups, is how much you have remained as part of the group even when you can’t meet…..how you have asked about other members of the group and kept them in your thoughts….as I keep on saying, you are the best group in Berwyn!

I thought for this New Year’s/Ethiopian Christmas letter, rather than the usual format, I would do a recap of some of the best things I think I have found to put into the letter this time. So, here goes…..

This was the psalm I put into the first letter I sent you all. It’s the psalm I think of when I think of our group and I know that is the favourite psalm of some of you……

Psalm 150

Praise Jah in his sanctuary;

praise him in his mighty heavens.

Praise him for his acts of power;

praise him for his surpassing greatness.

Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,

praise him with the harp and lyre,

praise him with timbrel and dancing,

praise him with the strings and pipe,

praise him with the clash of cymbals,

praise him with resounding cymbals.

Let everything that has breath praise Jah.

Praise Jah.

*

Next I’m going to put in a poem by Marcus Garvey. I have gone back to the words of this poem again and again since I first put it in one of our letters, it is so beautiful! This is more that I have learned this year, about the history around Marcus Garvey’s life….his actions and his powerful words.

Music In My Soul

by Marcus Garvey

There’s music in my soul today,
A joy of heart not there before:
This state of conscience I relay
To rich and proud and meek and poor.
There’s music in my happy Soul:
From Heaven’s realm doth truly flow
This music in my happy Soul,
My conscience tells me rightly so.

My song of joy I sing to you:
Let peace and love forever be
Among ye men of every hue,
Of every land and charted sea.

I crave no other fortune great,
But joy to live in peace with God;
My hopes are fixed on His Estate,
In faith so true as prophets had.
This music in my soul today
I spread in truth with love unfurled;
On waves of cheer it goes, I pray,
To reach around the belted world.

*

Now a description of a faithful Rastafari life…

Rasta Stands For Universal Love

Rasta has firmly established itself as a fierce opponent of colonialism by seeking to overturn the vicious legacy left by the European colonialists. Colonialism has had a grave impact on the psyche of today’s generation; it is a legacy of brutality, discrimination, corruption and a relentless pursuit of material possessions. Rasta has sought to overcome this legacy by standing for and upholding the principles of Maat, which is truth, justice, righteousness and balance.

Rasta stands for universal love, a higher spiritual ideal that is not usually emphasized in the mainstream of Western society. To be a Rasta is to be a righteous person, continuously seeking to improve SELF. This process of self discovery is further clarified by the words of a St Lucian Rasta who said “The word Rasta as I understand it means purely, the power that lies within any man which enables him to do anything he wants… To be a Rasta therefore is to be conscious of that divine power, and to be developing one’s power potential for achievement… Rasta becomes therefore a philosophy of life fulfillment”.

Rasta does not seek to conform to the norms of this society, which are steeped in racism, sexism, neo colonialism and injustice. The norm of this society is the relentless pursuit of carnal gratification and one doesn’t have to look hard to see where all this alcohol, sacredless sex, and materialistic living is taking us. It is taking our people down a wide road of great karmic consequences. Salvation cannot be found in worldly material possessions, but rather by experiences of divine proportions.

There is a misconception that Rastas are against technology and material things. Nothing could be further from the truth and this attempt to misconstrue what Rasta is about is often as deliberate as it is damaging. What Rastas are against is the misuse of technology and the overemphasis on material possessions, which in fact has caused great decadence of modern society

*

Think Positive To Get Positive

Rasta believe we must see every experience in life as a positive. Every experience. Again we must try to see the lesson in disguise. Sometimes things happen we do not like but we must put a positive spin on it in our minds so that we stay connected to JAH at all times. Negative thinking is separation from the Creator. Think positive at all times about all things.

*

A quote by Leonard Howell, one of the first Rastafari preachers….

” I am convinced that the children we are teaching today, will become vanguards and guardians to our freedom tomorrow and better citizens to defend our democracy and to ensure that generations to come will learn from the Holocaust of slavery, and keep the flame of remembrance burning. Help them to understand more about the past, that our history NEVER repeats itself so that we can create a better future for all human race.” Leonard Howell

*

*

The Wise Words of His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie I

“Throughout history it has been the inaction of those who could have acted, the indifference of those who should have known better, the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most, that has made it possible for evil to triumph.”

*

And now a prayer. I love these words, timeless, strong and secure in a world that seems to be shifting and difficult to live in…

Glory and praises and honour be unto thee the Most High, the Almighty, Jah Rastafari, ever living, ever faithful, ever sure, and let the whole earth know that Jah lives as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever and ever and ever. Amen

*

Over this year of writing letters to you, it has become clear that actually these letters have a star, a personality who makes these letters interesting……yes, its Lenny the Liability!

I’ve just realised something too. We’ve had him for almost a year….we got him from a rescue centre on the 7th January, so not only is it Ethiopian Christmas , its our family’s Lenny the Liability day. A good day to get him.

⬆️ My favourite doughnut carrying his toy doughnut!

We got him in a terrible state. He is 10 years old and had a life of neglect and cruelty. Now he’s such a clown…a happy, healthy, confident boy who belongs to my 14 years old son. Lenny (and sometimes my son) get into all sorts of mischief.

I thought that I would put in some of Lenny’s best bits in this letter, just as a reminder of what he’s got up to this year…..

This is from May…..

Yesterday there was a whole load of banging and crashing and sploshing from upstairs. I went to check and there was absolute mayhem in the bathroom. My son, in his swimming shorts, and Lenny were taking a bubble bath together…and oh my goodness, were there bubbles! Lenny was as over-excited as a staffy could be, swimming laps of the bath with his tail wagging so fast he was spraying the room with bubbles and my son was trying to wash him with a flannel (which I’m sure I recognised as mine 😐) and slopping gallons of water on the floor. I’m surprised the ceiling didn’t come down! My son said that Lenny had needed a bath because he smelled bad. I swear Lenny said that it was my son that needed the bath. The water was a nasty colour…sort of mud coloured, so they must have both needed it and luckily for me they washed the floor, the walls, the ceiling with muddy water all at the same time. The snorkelling staffy was caught (it took quite a bit…a soapy staffy is not the easiest to catch!), towel dried and returned to calmness. My son was left to clear up the bathroom.

*

From June….

Lenny, my son’s staffy, has started to play a new game.

My son comes down in the morning (hmm, well, more like midday…he’s a teenager) and lets Lenny out into the garden. Before he goes out, he comes to find me for a cuddle, then he trots outside.

After that, my son takes him upstairs for his morning biscuit and Lenny races up the stairs ahead of him. He stands at the top of the stairs, growling like he is going to attack him viciously, all the time dancing and wagging his tail. You should hear it! The first time I did, I thought Lenny had a character change and was seriously going to attack my son. It was only when I saw him dancing like a clown that I realised it was a game.

He’s got such a sense of humour, that dog!

*

From August….

My son has been busy too. I have a rule….I do not go into my childrens’ bedrooms unless I am invited, which is only once or twice a year. I know at times they must look horrific but unless I can smell their rooms (and not in a good way! 🤢) or I have run out of mugs, I leave well alone. I have 3 reasons for this….

1.) they have their own space

2.) I do not feel responsible for tidying after them. If they want to live in a mess, it’s up to them

3.) we get on far better if I don’t feel the need to nag them, shout at them, fall out with them.

This is fine in theory, but most of the time my son’s room smells so bad it attacks you as you walk upstairs. In fact, the local agricultural college has a department that I feel describes my son’s room…it’s called a ‘high welfare pig unit’ and I think this describes my son’s room perfectly!

He plays ice hockey. I don’t know if you’ve ever smelled old ice hockey kit?!? I’m told that it makes it less safe to wash it. It loses its strength & support. Well, it smells like he’s being supported by a whole fan club of bacterias. The most nastiest, hardest, greenest, toughest bacterias in the world.

I had this theory that I’ve been holding onto for many years now….I thought if I ignored it long enough he would get sick of living in a stink and clean it. I was beginning to lose faith in my theory….and then he got Lenny.

Lenny is into feng shui. He doesn’t feel the room is comfortable unless he’s tipped the bin upside down. He feels that the decor isn’t quite right unless he’s taken all the bedding off the bed and the cushions off the chair….and generally rampaged round, snorting, wagging his tail and causing havoc. Every single time Lenny was left in my son’s room on his own, it looked like several chemical reactions happened and the room imploded.

So my son had to go minimal….no more dirty dishes, no extra piles of dirty washing (cos Lenny has unusual taste, he chews dirty socks), no extra rubbish at all.

He started by cleaning his room. About 70 bin bags of rubbish later, he then emptied his room of dirty washing (the washing machine nearly fainted at the sight). He’s been using his wages from his building job to buy new furniture, lighting, storage, technology.

His room is now spotlessly clean and is so technologied up that it looks like he could land aeroplanes from it….it’s got LED strips round the bed, smart lighting, a desk that lights up, a new settee for him and Lenny to sit on, and most importantly of all, a bin with a lock!

*

And lastly, Lenny’s best episode…..

So, we are on holiday….it’s in such a beautiful place, it’s supposed to be relaxing buuuuut….we brought Lenny the Liability!

You are not going to believe what he’s done this time!

This is Lenny’s first holiday away with us. My son let him out in the garden of the holiday cottage. We’ve been here a few times and none of the dogs have ever got out of the garden. Lenny has never even thought about escaping at home. We thought he was safe.

Two minutes after he had been let out, my son wandered out into the garden….Lenny wasn’t there! My son called us, we all pulled on our boots to go look for him, sure he would just be under one of the hedges.

Nope, nothing!

So we checked in the next door garden….then down the road…then the cafe (as you know, he’s food obsessed & a thief…I was sure he was going to be helping himself to some old lady’s dinner). We asked the lady at the shop who put it on the village social media group, a group of bikers at the cafe got onto their bikes to help us search, a man got his car out to help us look…no Lenny!

Pete and my middle daughter were searching the gardens close by. My son and I checked the play park, the recycling area, the school playing fields….no Lenny!

No-one had seen him. We asked everyone we saw if they had seen a black & white staffy & no-one had, so we started to worry that he had been stolen. My son was almost in tears, in complete panic. Lenny is a very very loved staffy and we couldn’t find him anywhere.

We were searching gardens, the river, the churchyard, the fields, up and down the roads….absolutely no Lenny!

Pete met a lady walking into the village…he was obviously looking for something and she asked if he was looking for a black and white dog….YES!!!

She got in my car and we drove to find him. He was about a mile and a half away. He had found a campsite where a group of men on a stag party were camping and having a barbecue. He’d joined them, had shared their barbecue (!!), had a drink (I don’t think it was beer, like they were drinking, but I didn’t like to ask) and was now playing a game of fetch and hanging out with the lads. They had even re-named him in the short time he had been with them. They told me he was now called John F. Kennedy!?

He was very pleased to see me…he’d obviously eaten his fill of barbecue food and was quite happy to go home to sleep it off. He got into the passenger seat of the car and sat like he was my co-pilot all the way home, greeted my son, flopped onto his bed and snored away his afternoon.

Only Lenny the Liability could run away and join a stag party.

The only mystery left was…why call him John F. Kennedy? I do wish I had asked them.

I think, so that I can have the rest of my holiday in peace, I’m going to have to get Lenny fitted for a pair of concrete boots!

*

There we go, a review of this year for our group and my favourite liability! It’s quite impressive to manage to run away and get invited to a stag do!

I’m hoping that this year will bring with it more opportunities for the group to run, that the virus will be held in check by the new vaccines, that we can return to a more normal life. I’m hoping that we all can carry on learning. I am praying that you are all safe and well, mentally and physically. I will carry on writing to you and I will carry on praying for you.

Blessings,

Elizabeth

December 28th 2020

Hi,

We’ve had SNOW! Proper snow that stayed stuck to the ground, sort of snow. I stayed up waaaay too late watching the big feathers of snow fall, so I’m a bit bleary-eyed and coffee-fuelled today. It looks like it’s about to start snowing again. The sky is going darker and looks heavy with ‘content’ and it’s so cold.

It was Anya (Pete’s dog)’s first proper snow and she enjoyed galloping round in it. She did laps of the garden, barking with excitement. Lenny wasn’t that keen. He doesn’t like anything that makes him cold. He’s more of a sun-loving staffy.

It was Lenny’s first Christmas with us and he had a very good day. He had a whole stocking of all his favourite treats and toys to himself that my son had bought for him with his pocket money, he had a new fluffy puffer jacket type coat to keep him warm on walks, he got some turkey in his dinner bowl on Christmas Day aaaand he managed to steal a load of pigs-in-blankets from the dinner table as a bonus! The best sort of Christmas for a Lenny.

Lenny & his best friend Chloe (aka Scabby)

It was also Anya’s first Christmas. It exploded her brain! She was so over-excited. You know when a toddler gets so over-excited that they get completely overwhelmed, to the point where they behave badly and don’t know what to do?….that was Anya. She ended up having to be put in a quiet room, with just one toy to play with, until she settled back down and her brain re-entered her head.

It always amazes me how the best parts of Christmas are always the totally unassuming ones, the traditions that aren’t big or expensive but have developed over the years….I always ask my children what they want with their Christmas dinner. The reply is always that they want Boxing Day Soup.

But Boxing Day soup doesn’t happen without Christmas dinner and Christmas dinner choices. Boxing Day Soup is all of the remains of Christmas dinner…sprouts, red cabbage, parsnips, carrots, potatoes…put in a pan and cooked, then liquidised. Boxing Day soup is a weird kind of grey-purple colour (mostly because of the red cabbage)….nobody would look at it and think ‘yum, I’ll have that!’, but it’s the favourite thing to eat through Christmas.

For Christmas dinner, we always have sprouts…..which my children absolutely adore (!?!). We cut a cross in the bottom of them so that they cook right through…nobody wants sprouts that are soggy on the outside and like bullets in the middle (in my experience, most people don’t actually want sprouts!)…but one sprout has a star cut in it (4 cuts instead of 2). The person who gets the sprout with a star cut in is supposed to be lucky (or as lucky as someone can be who has just received a sprout I suppose) and can make a wish (probably that they don’t have to eat sprouts). It’s a tradition that my family, my mum and dad, my grandmother, my great grandmother have all done. I wonder how far it goes back and why on earth it started.

Another tradition is only ours, not any past generations….We have a pony called Tiger who just loves being included in everything. She loves cuddles and attention…and carrots with it. Every Christmas morning she is lead to the front door and my daughter has taught her how to knock on it. We open the door and she comes into the hallway and eats carrots. This is a photo of her from last Christmas when she was very wet & muddy….

Tiger is a funny pony. She likes to be involved in everything people are doing. If Pete, my husband, is fixing the fences he has to be careful when he swings the hammer back to hit the nail because there is a pony nose. If you try to tie up a hay net in the stable…there is a pony nose. If you are busy cleaning out, painting, fixing…anything!…there is a pony nose. My daughter has taught her how to dance for polos and…her party trick….my daughter plays wheelchair football with her!

Right, enough of this! On to what I’m actually supposed to be writing…..

Kebra Negast

45. How those who were sent away wept and made a plan And the children of the nobles of ISRAEL, who were commanded to depart with the son of the king, took counsel together, saying, “What shall we do? For we have left our country and our birth place, and our kinsfolk and the people of our city. Now, come ye, let us establish a covenant between us only, whereof our kinsfolk shall know nothing, that we will love each other in that country: none shall hasten or tarry here, and we will neither fear nor have any doubt. For God is here, and God is there, and may God’s Will be done! And to Him be praise for ever and ever! Amen.” And ’AZÂRYÂS and ’ÊLMÎYÂS, sons of the priests, answered, “Let not the other matter-that our kinsfolk hate us-cause us sorrow, but let us sorrow on account of our Lady ZION, because they are making us to leave her. For in her they have committed us to God, and we have served her to this day; and let us be sorrowful because they have made us to leave her. It is because of her and because of this that they have specially made us to weep.” And the others answered and said unto them, “Verily she is our Lady and our hope, and our object of boasting, and we have grown up under her blessedness. And how is it possible for us to forsake ZION our mistress? For we have been given to her. And what shall we do? If we resist his command the king will kill us, and we are unable to transgress the word of our fathers or the king’s command. And what shall we do concerning ZION our Lady?”

And ’AZÂRYÂS, the son of ZADOK the priest, answered and said, “I will counsel you what we shall do. But make a covenant with me to the end of your lives; and swear to me that ye will not repeat it whether we live or whether we die, or whether we be taken captive or whether we go forth [unhindered].” And they p. 67 swore an oath to him in the Name of the Lord God of ISRAEL, and by the heavenly ZION, the Tabernacle of the Law of God, and by what God had promised unto ABRAHAM, and by the purity and excellence of ISAAC, and by His making JACOB to arrive in and inherit a land whereto he was a stranger, and his seed after him.

And when they had sworn thus to him, he answered and said unto them, “Come now, let us take [with us] our Lady ZION; but how are we to take her? I will show you. And carry ye out my plan and if God willeth we shall be able to take our Lady with us. And if they should gain knowledge of our doings and slay us, that shall not trouble us, because we shall die for our Lady ZION.” And they all rose up, and kissed his head, and his face, and his eyes, and they said unto him, “We will do everything that thou hast counselled us to do; whether we die or whether we live, we are with thee for the sake of our Lady ZION. If we die it will not cause us sorrow, and if we live-the Will of God be done!” And one of them, the son of YÔAS (BENAIAH), whose name was ZECHARIAH, said, “I cannot sit down because of the great gladness that is in my heart. Tell me, moreover, canst thou indeed carry her off, and is it not a lie? Thou canst go into the House of God in the place of thy father ZADOK, and the keys are continually in thy hand. But ponder well what we counsel thee before they take the keys out of thy hand. Thou knowest the hidden openings (or, windows) which King SOLOMON made; but none of the priests may enter therein except thy father once each year in order to offer up sacrifice in the Holy of Holies on behalf of himself and on behalf of the people. Ponder, consider, and sleep not in the matter of thy wish to carry away ZION. And we will depart with her as soon as she hath been committed to our care, and we shall have joy and our fathers sorrow when she arriveth with us in the country of ETHIOPIA.” 

And AZÂRYÂS said unto them, “Do ye what I tell you, and we shall succeed. Give ye to me each of you ten dîdrachmas,1 and I will give them to a carpenter so that he will make haste to prepare for me good planks of wood-now because of his love of money he will fasten them together very quickly-of the height, and breadth, and length and size of our Lady [ZION]. And I will give him the dimensions of myself, and I will say unto him, “Prepare for me pieces of wood for a framework (?) so that I may make a raft therefrom; for we are going to travel over the sea, and in the event of the ship sinking I shall be able to get up on the raft, and we shall be saved from the sea. And I will take the framework without the pieces of wood thereof being fixed together, and I will have them put together in ETHIOPIA. And I will set them down in the habitation of ZION, and will drape them with the draperies of ZION, and I will take ZION, and will dig a hole in the ground, and will set ZION there, until we journey and take it away with us thither. And I will not tell the matter to the king until we have travelled far.”

And they each gave him ten dîdrachmas, and this money amounted to one hundred and forty dîdrachmas, and he took them and gave them to a carpenter, who straightway fashioned a good piece of work from the remains of the wood of the house of the sanctuary, and AZÂRYÂS rejoiced and showed it to his brethren.

*

Reasoning

Command:

1 Chronicles 17 v9
9
Also I will ordain a place for my people Israel, and will plant them, and they shall dwell in their place, and shall be moved no more; neither shall the children of wickedness waste them any more, as at the beginning.

Will:

Psalm 127 v1
1
Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.

Desire:

Amos 9 v11
11
In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old:

Wish:

Revelation 21 v3
3
And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God, Emperor Haile Selassie I, is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God, Emperor Haile Selassie I, himself shall be with them, and be their God.

*

The Original African Heritage Study Bible

From the GreenGoldGardens website, extracts chosen from the African Heritage Study Bible

A Foundation of Truth. ‘For too long in the history of Western civilization, persons of African descent have been stereotyped in negative ways which have caused them to question not only their own identity, but also their part in God’s plan of salvation.’

‘The birth or creation of the first human (Homo sapiens) took place in the heart of biblical Africa, which was called at that time “Eden.” The three rivers spoken of in Gen. 2:10-14 verify human existence in this area. To substantiate the biblical story of creation, archaeologists and
scientists confirm without doubt that the oldest form of human life has been discovered around the Olduvai Gorge in present-day Tanzania. It was from this point that humankind found the way to other parts of the known world. This first move was toward northeast Africa, the “Middle East” and from there into Asia and Europe. Therefore, during the Bible days when civilization was high in Kemet (Egypt) there was little known activity on the continent we know today as Europe. Civilization came late to the caucasians of the North, and that which came was brought forth from Akebu-lan (Africa), “the Mother of all Lands.”

The Ark of the Covenant
‘The Ark described to Moses by God was a vessel built according to sacred specifications. This vessel contained the Word of God: “And thou shalt put into the Ark the testimony which I shall give thee” (Exod. 25:16). It was thus symbolic of the presence of the Word (Instructions) of God in the midst of the children of Israel. God’s goal was to make the people understand that they were to be the place for His everlasting presence….Therefore, with the presence of the Word of God in the midst of them, Israel succeeded in all that they sought to do that was in accordance with the Word of God. …”‘

Queen of Sheba
‘The Queen of Sheba was from the country which is today called Yemen *(originally part of Africa). Yemen is located in southern Arabia, just a stone’s throw from the horn of Africa. This location was populated by Sheba and Dedan, two grandsons of Cush (Ethiopia). The Queen of
Sheba was very desirous to meet King Solomon after hearing about his wisdom from abroad.
She was welcomed in Solomon’s court and an affair between the two of them resulted in a son who later was called Menelik I. She was remembered by Jesus *the Christ in his teachings when he referred to her as “The Queen of the South.”

Queen Candace
“The Candaces ruled Ethiopia as queens during the time of Jesus *the Christ. The name is a royal title. And this particular Candace was descended from a long line of Candaces. She is credited for bringing Christianity to her country by sending her high treasurer the Eunuch to Jerusalem to seek information concerning the teaching of Christ. According to secular historians the Candaces were buried in pyramids like the Pharoahs (Acts 8:27).

The Church of Ethiopia
“One of the oldest and most facinating civilizations to be found in the world today is that of the Ethiopians. In the 20th century, the Emperor of Ethiopia, Haile Selassie, is regarded as a man of great dedication and courage. In the 1930s when his nation was under savage attack by the
Italians, who resorted to wholesale slaughter of the Ethiopians by mustard gas showered down from planes, world opinion rallied to the side of the ruler of this ancient citadel of African Christianity.”

*

Poetry of Marcus Mosiah Garvey

The Eternal hills are green in tropic lands, 
And snowy white in temperate zones; 
At seasons of the year, when nature speaks, 
Most changes come, as ocean sands: 
The planets and their suns betray a force 
That rules o’er mighty changing time- 
That time that had no beginning of day 
The time that runs its fullest course. 

Almighty God is Master over all 
The crowning hills and valleys, too; 
The oceans move at His eternal will, 
And thus the terrestrial ball, 
When nature changes from her mood to mood 
And sparrows fall, and men do die, 
It’s God alone who knows the mystery art- 
The art of life, the living food. 

No man can die, no hill can ever move,
Nor seasons come and flying go,
Without the knowledge of the Mighty Lord,
Who holds the Universe in grove;
The finite mind of men must always know
That God Supreme is really King:
True wisdom we should everlasting seek,
And in His Grace do daily grow,
For He is God, and God is God,
And no more gods shall e’er be God.

Marcus Mosiah Garvey

*

Bible Verses

Numbers 6:1-5

The Nazirite

6 The Lord said to Moses, 2 “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘If a man or woman wants to make a special vow, a vow of dedication to the Lord as a Nazirite, 3 they must abstain from wine and other fermented drink and must not drink vinegar made from wine or other fermented drink. They must not drink grape juice or eat grapes or raisins. 4 As long as they remain under their Nazirite vow, they must not eat anything that comes from the grapevine, not even the seeds or skins.

5 “‘During the entire period of their Nazirite vow, no razor may be used on their head. They must be holy until the period of their dedication to the Lord is over; they must let their hair grow long.

*

The Wise Words of His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie

Loyalty inspires understanding, and understanding co-operation; these are the clearest evidence of strength. But the solid basis for all lies in education.
It is education which allows people to live together, and makes them avoid the pitfalls of immorality, and induces respect for the law. Truly the attainment of these high aims is based on education, the helping of people to live together, to avoid indulgence, immorality and lawlessness …

*

Blessing/Prayer

I thought that in these odd lockdown times, this blessing that the LORD gave to the Israelites was fitting. It is from the Book Of Numbers, like the Bible verse for this week and I’m going to give you the whole verse, so it is in context….

22 The Lord said to Moses, 23 “Tell Aaron and his sons, ‘This is how you are to bless the Israelites. Say to them:

24 “‘“The Lord bless you
and keep you;
25 the Lord make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
26 the Lord turn his face toward you
and give you peace.”’

27 “So they will put my name on the Israelites, and I will bless them.” (Numbers 6:22-27)

This is what I pray for you this week and what as a group I thought we could pray for each other.

*

Christmas Day was definitely slower for me this year….it took me AGES to wrap the presents one-handed! I managed to cook the whole of the Christmas dinner one-handed too, although Pete had to put the turkey in and out of the oven for me and a friend (my son’s godmother) came down to help me peel all the veg. She is on her own, so is in ‘our bubble’. She and I always spend Christmas Eve together, peeling veg, drinking coffee (maybe sometimes something a bit more gin-&-tonic-like!), chatting and laughing. This year I was particularly glad of her help, cos of only having one useful arm.

I hope you all managed to get through Christmas Day and are all coping. It is a particularly difficult time for you all this year….Christmas time as well as lockdown, so I guess you are spending even more time stuck in your pads. I guess you all know by now that I am praying for you, hoping that you are all managing to get through this. I also hope that you got last week’s letter too, so you had some reading and some resources.

I’m really sorry, my family have had to come to a conclusion to shield my eldest daughter. As you all know, she’s marked as palliative care now and at the beginning of the pandemic we were informed that the hospital had marked her as DNR (do not resuscitate). This means if she gets COVID she isn’t a priority for breathing help or anything. We think anyway that she is very unlikely to survive anything she catches….and we need to do everything in our power to help her live.

With the cases on the rise, we just can’t risk it…so I will carry on writing to you like I did but for the next couple of weeks, until the cases stop rising and the hospitals are back under control I am going to have to not come in. I’m so sorry!

I will keep writing to you and praying for you and hoping that this will be better controlled soon. And I’m going to remind you all again to look at this week’s prayer…..

Blessings,

Elizabeth

December 19th 2020

Hi,

It’s Christmas week! I am running round like a one-armed-squirrel-with-it’s-tail-on-fire, shedding glitter as I go, drinking coffee & eating painkillers like they are smarties….not a good image!

It’s been a week of running as fast as I can to get very little done, plans, lists, secrets, of everything hiding things that have arrived in the post behind our backs and sneaking up the stairs.

Christmas baking, too much tinsel, over-excited dogs and children, counting plates (rattling my 14 year old son til he brings all the dirty plates down that were hidden under his bed!), getting all the wood baskets filled, listening to carols (& singing along badly)…..and our Christmas outing!

We always go for a trip out sometime in December, all of us with my parents….sometimes a steam train, Christmas markets, a Christmas lantern walk. This year, I’m feeling really pleased with myself….months ago I found a night tour of a reindeer farm, with a short pantomime and a drive with beautiful lanterns lighting the way, all staying in your car. I guessed it would probably be one of the only activities not cancelled due to the virus, I was right, and because we stayed in our car, it was completely safe. It was beautiful! The drive was around a lake and it was all lit with tiny sparkly lights. The reindeer were beautiful. I did take a photo for you but it didn’t turn out terribly well….

Kebra Negast

44. How it is not a seemly thing to revile the King Now it is not a seemly thing to revile the king, for he is the anointed of God. It is neither seemly nor good. If he doeth that which is good he will not suffer loss in three kingdoms: FIRST, God shall overthrow for him his enemy, and he shall not be seized by the hand of his enemy. SECONDLY, God shall make him reign with Him and with His righteousness, and shall make him to sit on His right hand. THIRDLY, God shall make him to reign upon earth with glory and joy, and shall direct his kingdom for him, and shall bring down the nations under his feet. And if he treateth God lightly, and doth not do that which is good, and doth not himself walk in the path of uprightness, God shall work as He pleaseth against him; on earth He will make his days to be few, and in heaven (sic) his place of abode shall be the habitation of SHEÔL with the Devil. And on earth he shall enjoy neither health nor gladness [and he shall live] in fear and terror, without peace and with perturbation.

It is not a good thing for any of those who are under the dominion of a king to revile him, for retribution belongeth to God. Now the priests are like the prophets, only better than the prophets, for the mysteries are given unto them, so that they may lay hold upon the sun of righteousness, whilst the Seraphim, who were created out of fire, are only able to lay hold upon the mysteries with tongs. As for the priests He named them “salt”, and moreover, He named the priests “lamp” and also “light of the world”, and also “the sun that lighteneth the darkness”, CHRIST, the Sun of righteousness, being in their hearts. And a priest, who hath in him understanding, rebuketh the king concerning that he hath seen; and that which he hath not seen God will enquire into, and there is none who can call Him to account. Moreover, the people must not revile the bishops and the priests, for they are the children of God and the men of His house, for which reason they must rebuke [men] for their sins and errors. And thou, O priest, if thou seest sin in a well-known man, shalt not hesitate to rebuke him; let neither sword nor exile make thee afraid. And hear how angry God was with ISAIAH because he did not rebuke King ‘ÛZYÂN (UZZIAH). And hearken also concerning SAMUEL the Prophet, how he rebuked SAUL1 the king, being in no way afraid of him, and how he rent his kingdom [from him] by his word; and [hearken also] how ELIJAH [rebuked] AHAB.2 Do thou then fear not, and rebuke and teach him that transgresseth.

And ISRAEL from of old reviled their kings and provoked their prophets to wrath, and in later times they crucified their Saviour. But believing Christian folk dwell in peace, without sickness and suffering, without hatred and offence, with our king . . .3 who loveth God and who removeth not from his heart the thing of righteousness, and faith in the Churches and in the believers. And his enemies shall be scattered by the might of the Cross of JESUS CHRIST.

*

Reasoning

Command:

Deuteronomy 32 v39-40
39
See now that I , even I, am he, and there is no god with me: I kill, and I make alive; I would, and I heal: neither is there any that can
deliver out of my hand. 40 For I lift up my hand to heaven, and say, I live for ever.

Will:

Psalm 25 v4-5
4
Show me thy ways, O LORD, Emperor Haile Selassie I, teach me thy
paths. 5 Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day.

Desire:

1 Kings 9 v4-5
4
And if thou will walk before me, Emperor Haile Selassie I, as David thy father walked, in integrity of heart, and in uprightness, to do according to all that I have commanded thee, and wilt keep my statues and my judgments: 5 Then I will establish the throne of thy kingdom upon Israel (People), Ethiopia (Place) for ever, as I promised to David thy father, saying, There shall not fail thee a man upon the throne of Israel (Ethiopia).

Wish:

Isaiah 45 v13
13
I have raised him, Emperor Haile Selassie I, up in righteousness, and I will direct all the ways: he shall build my city, and he shall let go my captives, not for price nor reward, saith the LORD of hosts.

*

Isaiah 40

This is the second part of the chapter (the 1st part was two weeks ago).

This year really has been one like no other! Long times of lockdown, with a good dose of isolation and fear thrown in. Separation from regular group meetings and also from your families…it’s been a memorable year but often for all the wrong reasons. Now we head towards Christmas Day….never an easy day when you are inside. But look at this promise that JAH makes….

“He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak”

12 Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand,
or with the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens?
Who has held the dust of the earth in a basket,
or weighed the mountains on the scales
and the hills in a balance?
13 Who can fathom the Spirit[d] of the Lord,
or instruct the Lord as his counselor?
14 Whom did the Lord consult to enlighten him,
and who taught him the right way?
Who was it that taught him knowledge,
or showed him the path of understanding?

15 Surely the nations are like a drop in a bucket;
they are regarded as dust on the scales;
he weighs the islands as though they were fine dust.
16 Lebanon is not sufficient for altar fires,
nor its animals enough for burnt offerings.
17 Before him all the nations are as nothing;
they are regarded by him as worthless
and less than nothing.18 With whom, then, will you compare God?
To what image will you liken him?
19 As for an idol, a metalworker casts it,
and a goldsmith overlays it with gold
and fashions silver chains for it.
20 A person too poor to present such an offering
selects wood that will not rot;
they look for a skilled worker
to set up an idol that will not topple.21 Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
Has it not been told you from the beginning?
Have you not understood since the earth was founded?
22 He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth,
and its people are like grasshoppers.
He stretches out the heavens like a canopy,
and spreads them out like a tent to live in.
23 He brings princes to naught
and reduces the rulers of this world to nothing.
24 No sooner are they planted,
no sooner are they sown,
no sooner do they take root in the ground,
than he blows on them and they wither,
and a whirlwind sweeps them away like chaff.25 “To whom will you compare me?
Or who is my equal?” says the Holy One.
26 Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens:
Who created all these?
He who brings out the starry host one by one
and calls forth each of them by name.
Because of his great power and mighty strength,
not one of them is missing.27 Why do you complain, Jacob?
Why do you say, Israel,
“My way is hidden from the Lord;
my cause is disregarded by my God”?
28 Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
29 He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.

The promise is that those who have their hope in JAH will have their strength renewed. They will…

“soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint”.

I pray for you all, as you all know…the general stuff, that the days will pass easily, that you will be safe and well, and then the specifics…toothaches, families, Cat D’s, the stuff that is worrying you. I think that verse, that you would ‘soar on wings like eagles’, that you would find your happiness and strength in JAH, that is what I will pray for you over Christmas and for your coming year.

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The Wise Words Of His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie l


2020…a year where there has been lots of learning from life experiences!! How right His Imperial Majesty was, with His understanding that learning can be gained from all life experiences.

*

Blessed is the man or woman who
walks in the Council of the Godly,
sits in the Congregation of the Righteous,
and Standeth with the Faithful,
for Our delight is in the light of the law of our God and King,
and in His law do we meditate day and night
for We shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water
bringing forth His fruit in His season
Our life shall blossom and whatsoever we doeth shall prosper.
The Godly are Seen and shall be a light to the blessed
for Our God and King
Emperor Haile Selassie I
Knoweth the way of the righteous and the way of the blessed be
everliving.

*

Prayer

Glory be to the Father and to the maker of creation As it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be World without end: Jah Rastafari: Eternal God Selassie I

**

Here is something of mine for you, a piece written by Dylan Thomas that we were read just about every year in school. I loved it and I thought you all might like to read it too. I hope you enjoy it! ….

One Christmas was so much like another, in those years around the sea-town corner now and out of all sound except the distant speaking of the voices I sometimes hear a moment before sleep, that I can never remember whether it snowed for six days and six nights when I was twelve or whether it snowed for twelve days and twelve nights when I was six. 

All the Christmases roll down toward the two-tongued sea, like a cold and headlong moon bundling down the sky that was our street; and they stop at the rim of the ice-edged fish-freezing waves, and I plunge my hands in the snow and bring out whatever I can find. In goes my hand into that wool-white bell-tongued ball of holidays resting at the rim of the carol-singing sea, and out come Mrs. Prothero and the firemen. 

It was on the afternoon of the Christmas Eve, and I was in Mrs. Prothero’s garden, waiting for cats, with her son Jim. It was snowing. It was always snowing at Christmas. December, in my memory, is white as Lapland, though there were no reindeers. But there were cats. Patient, cold and callous, our hands wrapped in socks, we waited to snowball the cats. Sleek and long as jaguars and horrible-whiskered, spitting and snarling, they would slink and sidle over the white back-garden walls, and the lynx-eyed hunters, Jim and I, fur-capped and moccasined trappers from Hudson Bay, off Mumbles Road, would hurl our deadly snowballs at the green of their eyes. The wise cats never appeared. 

We were so still, Eskimo-footed arctic marksmen in the muffling silence of the eternal snows – eternal, ever since Wednesday – that we never heard Mrs. Prothero’s first cry from her igloo at the bottom of the garden. Or, if we heard it at all, it was, to us, like the far-off challenge of our enemy and prey, the neighbor’s polar cat. But soon the voice grew louder. 
“Fire!” cried Mrs. Prothero, and she beat the dinner-gong. 

And we ran down the garden, with the snowballs in our arms, toward the house; and smoke, indeed, was pouring out of the dining-room, and the gong was bombilating, and Mrs. Prothero was announcing ruin like a town crier in Pompeii. This was better than all the cats in Wales standing on the wall in a row. We bounded into the house, laden with snowballs, and stopped at the open door of the smoke-filled room. 

Something was burning all right; perhaps it was Mr. Prothero, who always slept there after midday dinner with a newspaper over his face. But he was standing in the middle of the room, saying, “A fine Christmas!” and smacking at the smoke with a slipper. 

“Call the fire brigade,” cried Mrs. Prothero as she beat the gong. 
“There won’t be there,” said Mr. Prothero, “it’s Christmas.” 
There was no fire to be seen, only clouds of smoke and Mr. Prothero standing in the middle of them, waving his slipper as though he were conducting. 
“Do something,” he said. And we threw all our snowballs into the smoke – I think we missed Mr. Prothero – and ran out of the house to the telephone box. 
“Let’s call the police as well,” Jim said. “And the ambulance.” “And Ernie Jenkins, he likes fires.” 

But we only called the fire brigade, and soon the fire engine came and three tall men in helmets brought a hose into the house and Mr. Prothero got out just in time before they turned it on. Nobody could have had a noisier Christmas Eve. And when the firemen turned off the hose and were standing in the wet, smoky room, Jim’s Aunt, Miss. Prothero, came downstairs and peered in at them. Jim and I waited, very quietly, to hear what she would say to them. She said the right thing, always. She looked at the three tall firemen in their shining helmets, standing among the smoke and cinders and dissolving snowballs, and she said, “Would you like anything to read?” 

Years and years ago, when I was a boy, when there were wolves in Wales, and birds the color of red-flannel petticoats whisked past the harp-shaped hills, when we sang and wallowed all night and day in caves that smelt like Sunday afternoons in damp front farmhouse parlors, and we chased, with the jawbones of deacons, the English and the bears, before the motor car, before the wheel, before the duchess-faced horse, when we rode the daft and happy hills bareback, it snowed and it snowed. But here a small boy says: “It snowed last year, too. I made a snowman and my brother knocked it down and I knocked my brother down and then we had tea.” 

“But that was not the same snow,” I say. “Our snow was not only shaken from white wash buckets down the sky, it came shawling out of the ground and swam and drifted out of the arms and hands and bodies of the trees; snow grew overnight on the roofs of the houses like a pure and grandfather moss, minutely -ivied the walls and settled on the postman, opening the gate, like a dumb, numb thunder-storm of white, torn Christmas cards.” 

“Were there postmen then, too?” 
“With sprinkling eyes and wind-cherried noses, on spread, frozen feet they crunched up to the doors and mittened on them manfully. But all that the children could hear was a ringing of bells.” 
“You mean that the postman went rat-a-tat-tat and the doors rang?” 
“I mean that the bells the children could hear were inside them.” 
“I only hear thunder sometimes, never bells.” 
“There were church bells, too.” 
“Inside them?” 
“No, no, no, in the bat-black, snow-white belfries, tugged by bishops and storks. And they rang their tidings over the bandaged town, over the frozen foam of the powder and ice-cream hills, over the crackling sea. It seemed that all the churches boomed for joy under my window; and the weathercocks crew for Christmas, on our fence.” 

“Get back to the postmen” 
“They were just ordinary postmen, found of walking and dogs and Christmas and the snow. They knocked on the doors with blue knuckles ….” 
“Ours has got a black knocker….” 
“And then they stood on the white Welcome mat in the little, drifted porches and huffed and puffed, making ghosts with their breath, and jogged from foot to foot like small boys wanting to go out.” 
“And then the presents?” 
“And then the Presents, after the Christmas box. And the cold postman, with a rose on his button-nose, tingled down the tea-tray-slithered run of the chilly glinting hill. He went in his ice-bound boots like a man on fishmonger’s slabs. “He wagged his bag like a frozen camel’s hump, dizzily turned the corner on one foot, and, by God, he was gone.” 

“Get back to the Presents.” 
“There were the Useful Presents: engulfing mufflers of the old coach days, and mittens made for giant sloths; zebra scarfs of a substance like silky gum that could be tug-o’-warred down to the galoshes; blinding tam-o’-shanters like patchwork tea cozies and bunny-suited busbies and balaclavas for victims of head-shrinking tribes; from aunts who always wore wool next to the skin there were mustached and rasping vests that made you wonder why the aunts had any skin left at all; and once I had a little crocheted nose bag from an aunt now, alas, no longer whinnying with us. And pictureless books in which small boys, though warned with quotations not to, would skate on Farmer Giles’ pond and did and drowned; and books that told me everything about the wasp, except why.” 

“Go on the Useless Presents.” 
“Bags of moist and many-colored jelly babies and a folded flag and a false nose and a tram-conductor’s cap and a machine that punched tickets and rang a bell; never a catapult; once, by mistake that no one could explain, a little hatchet; and a celluloid duck that made, when you pressed it, a most unducklike sound, a mewing moo that an ambitious cat might make who wished to be a cow; and a painting book in which I could make the grass, the trees, the sea and the animals any colour I pleased, and still the dazzling sky-blue sheep are grazing in the red field under the rainbow-billed and pea-green birds. Hardboileds, toffee, fudge and allsorts, crunches, cracknels, humbugs, glaciers, marzipan, and butterwelsh for the Welsh. And troops of bright tin soldiers who, if they could not fight, could always run. And Snakes-and-Families and Happy Ladders. And Easy Hobbi-Games for Little Engineers, complete with instructions. Oh, easy for Leonardo! And a whistle to make the dogs bark to wake up the old man next door to make him beat on the wall with his stick to shake our picture off the wall. And a packet of cigarettes: you put one in your mouth and you stood at the corner of the street and you waited for hours, in vain, for an old lady to scold you for smoking a cigarette, and then with a smirk you ate it. And then it was breakfast under the balloons.” 

“Were there Uncles like in our house?” 
“There are always Uncles at Christmas. The same Uncles. And on Christmas morning, with dog-disturbing whistle and sugar fags, I would scour the swatched town for the news of the little world, and find always a dead bird by the Post Office or by the white deserted swings; perhaps a robin, all but one of his fires out. Men and women wading or scooping back from chapel, with taproom noses and wind-bussed cheeks, all albinos, huddles their stiff black jarring feathers against the irreligious snow. Mistletoe hung from the gas brackets in all the front parlors; there was sherry and walnuts and bottled beer and crackers by the dessertspoons; and cats in their fur-abouts watched the fires; and the high-heaped fire spat, all ready for the chestnuts and the mulling pokers. Some few large men sat in the front parlors, without their collars, Uncles almost certainly, trying their new cigars, holding them out judiciously at arms’ length, returning them to their mouths, coughing, then holding them out again as though waiting for the explosion; and some few small aunts, not wanted in the kitchen, nor anywhere else for that matter, sat on the very edge of their chairs, poised and brittle, afraid to break, like faded cups and saucers.” 

Not many those mornings trod the piling streets: an old man always, fawn-bowlered, yellow-gloved and, at this time of year, with spats of snow, would take his constitutional to the white bowling green and back, as he would take it wet or fire on Christmas Day or Doomsday; sometimes two hale young men, with big pipes blazing, no overcoats and wind blown scarfs, would trudge, unspeaking, down to the forlorn sea, to work up an appetite, to blow away the fumes, who knows, to walk into the waves until nothing of them was left but the two furling smoke clouds of their inextinguishable briars. Then I would be slap-dashing home, the gravy smell of the dinners of others, the bird smell, the brandy, the pudding and mince, coiling up to my nostrils, when out of a snow-clogged side lane would come a boy the spit of myself, with a pink-tipped cigarette and the violet past of a black eye, cocky as a bullfinch, leering all to himself. 

I hated him on sight and sound, and would be about to put my dog whistle to my lips and blow him off the face of Christmas when suddenly he, with a violet wink, put his whistle to his lips and blew so stridently, so high, so exquisitely loud, that gobbling faces, their cheeks bulged with goose, would press against their tinsled windows, the whole length of the white echoing street. For dinner we had turkey and blazing pudding, and after dinner the Uncles sat in front of the fire, loosened all buttons, put their large moist hands over their watch chains, groaned a little and slept. Mothers, aunts and sisters scuttled to and fro, bearing tureens. Auntie Bessie, who had already been frightened, twice, by a clock-work mouse, whimpered at the sideboard and had some elderberry wine. The dog was sick. Auntie Dosie had to have three aspirins, but Auntie Hannah, who liked port, stood in the middle of the snowbound back yard, singing like a big-bosomed thrush. I would blow up balloons to see how big they would blow up to; and, when they burst, which they all did, the Uncles jumped and rumbled. In the rich and heavy afternoon, the Uncles breathing like dolphins and the snow descending, I would sit among festoons and Chinese lanterns and nibble dates and try to make a model man-o’-war, following the Instructions for Little Engineers, and produce what might be mistaken for a sea-going tramcar. 

Or I would go out, my bright new boots squeaking, into the white world, on to the seaward hill, to call on Jim and Dan and Jack and to pad through the still streets, leaving huge footprints on the hidden pavements. 
“I bet people will think there’s been hippos.” 
“What would you do if you saw a hippo coming down our street?” 
“I’d go like this, bang! I’d throw him over the railings and roll him down the hill and then I’d tickle him under the ear and he’d wag his tail.” 
“What would you do if you saw two hippos?” 

Iron-flanked and bellowing he-hippos clanked and battered through the scudding snow toward us as we passed Mr. Daniel’s house. 
“Let’s post Mr. Daniel a snow-ball through his letter box.” 
“Let’s write things in the snow.” 
“Let’s write, ‘Mr. Daniel looks like a spaniel’ all over his lawn.” 
Or we walked on the white shore. “Can the fishes see it’s snowing?” 

The silent one-clouded heavens drifted on to the sea. Now we were snow-blind travelers lost on the north hills, and vast dewlapped dogs, with flasks round their necks, ambled and shambled up to us, baying “Excelsior.” We returned home through the poor streets where only a few children fumbled with bare red fingers in the wheel-rutted snow and cat-called after us, their voices fading away, as we trudged uphill, into the cries of the dock birds and the hooting of ships out in the whirling bay. And then, at tea the recovered Uncles would be jolly; and the ice cake loomed in the center of the table like a marble grave. Auntie Hannah laced her tea with rum, because it was only once a year. 

Bring out the tall tales now that we told by the fire as the gaslight bubbled like a diver. Ghosts whooed like owls in the long nights when I dared not look over my shoulder; animals lurked in the cubbyhole under the stairs and the gas meter ticked. And I remember that we went singing carols once, when there wasn’t the shaving of a moon to light the flying streets. At the end of a long road was a drive that led to a large house, and we stumbled up the darkness of the drive that night, each one of us afraid, each one holding a stone in his hand in case, and all of us too brave to say a word. The wind through the trees made noises as of old and unpleasant and maybe webfooted men wheezing in caves. We reached the black bulk of the house. “What shall we give them? Hark the Herald?” 
“No,” Jack said, “Good King Wencelas. I’ll count three.” One, two three, and we began to sing, our voices high and seemingly distant in the snow-felted darkness round the house that was occupied by nobody we knew. We stood close together, near the dark door. Good King Wencelas looked out On the Feast of Stephen … And then a small, dry voice, like the voice of someone who has not spoken for a long time, joined our singing: a small, dry, eggshell voice from the other side of the door: a small dry voice through the keyhole. And when we stopped running we were outside our house; the front room was lovely; balloons floated under the hot-water-bottle-gulping gas; everything was good again and shone over the town. 
“Perhaps it was a ghost,” Jim said. 
“Perhaps it was trolls,” Dan said, who was always reading. 
“Let’s go in and see if there’s any jelly left,” Jack said. And we did that. 

Always on Christmas night there was music. An uncle played the fiddle, a cousin sang “Cherry Ripe,” and another uncle sang “Drake’s Drum.” It was very warm in the little house. Auntie Hannah, who had got on to the parsnip wine, sang a song about Bleeding Hearts and Death, and then another in which she said her heart was like a Bird’s Nest; and then everybody laughed again; and then I went to bed. Looking through my bedroom window, out into the moonlight and the unending smoke-colored snow, I could see the lights in the windows of all the other houses on our hill and hear the music rising from them up the long, steady falling night. I turned the gas down, I got into bed. I said some words to the close and holy darkness, and then I slept.

Dylan Thomas

*

Well, I am really so sorry we couldn’t have the Christmas Eve that we planned. I am so sorry to let you all down…..

My eldest daughter’s PICC line, the intravenous line that goes to her heart, has failed again and we are waiting for a last minute slot for surgery. She’s not excited for this, she has so much scar tissue that it’s really difficult to put the line in now and very painful. I’m hoping that the hospital can find a slot before Christmas, a cancellation, so we can get the surgery done…it would be far safer just in case she is ill.

In the meantime, I am getting ready for the oddest Christmas for a while….so few people, so quiet.

I have Christmas carols playing, the fire is lit in the kitchen and everywhere smells of Christmas spices and bleach…..it’s okay, it’s not a weird Welsh recipe, the children are cleaning the house while I one-handedly cook. My son is bringing an whole week’s worth of logs, sticks and peat blocks in for the fire and there is a fall-out of glitter everywhere. Present wrapping has been slow, with only one hand….Pete and I have had some stupid late nights while I scrumple things roughly into tissue paper (under the tree looks like a waste tip, with all the roughly wrapped presents).

I have some lovely chocolate biscuits and stuff for when we are all able to meet…this really is the finish to this year, hopefully 2021 will be a more normal year!

I have been counting my blessings, with such an odd year it’s easy to wallow in the bad stuff. There has been some lovely stuff has happened this year….I’ve started a degree, my husband Pete has a new job that keeps him at home, my eldest daughter lives to see another Christmas & is out of hospital, we have 2 more dogs added to the collection (Anya and Lenny the Liability….I can’t believe we’ve only had Lenny since January, he’s such a huge personality!), both this year’s nesting of swallows were successful, my children have lived and learned and done…and even possibly enjoyed lockdown.

I also feel I have shared blessings with you. We have shared ideas and celebrations and knowledge and letters. I have learned a huge amount about being Rastafari, a little bit about how to drum (still not very good at it 😊) and am still resisting having dreadlocks! I think I will go back to the quote I found a couple of weeks ago, (I know I’ve used it before) in celebration of this year and our group….

Lastly, a prayer and blessing for you…

May the Almighty Creator shower you all with His grace and bless each and everyone of you with a joyful, healthy, and prosperous year.

Of course, I will continue to pray for each every one of you, I will hope you have a peaceful Christmas, I will look forward to seeing you all again in the New Year and hope that we will be allowed to meet, that the lockdown will be over soon.

Take care!

Blessings,

Elizabeth

December 12th 2020

Hi,

Well, I’m not going to make the Welsh Olympic juggling team this week, or any time soon. Yes, it’s true that I can’t actually juggle, but also if I could one of my arms would let me down…..

So, Anya and I are going to sit together and write to you….it’s a rare photo of Anya, usually they are just a blur of ginger as she boiiings from one naughtiness to the next. (She looks quite elegant in this photo….don’t believe it, she’s a muppet!)

I have a theory about my life goals. I’ve never been very good at ‘career planning’ and every time things go wrong I threaten to run away to join the circus…but I can’t juggle, I have rubbish balance so I’m not going to manage a tightrope, I don’t own any lions I could train….so I’m going to have to grow a beard! It’s not going particularly well so far but it’s my only plan so I’m going to stick with it!

While my beard grows, I’m busy trying to get ready for Christmas. There is an awful lot about Christmas that needs two arms to achieve….present wrapping, baking, shopping, Christmas dinner cooking and of course, what I have been trying to do today…putting up the Christmas decorations. Obviously I don’t do decorating lightly, usually, but this year I’ve had to go for the ‘minimalist’ look. We are still sparkly, lit up and Christmas carolling, but not with quite as much over-the-top-ness as other years, but then, 2020 has been a peculiar year.

The children, the spare teenagers and I are now covered in a layer of glitter after putting up all the sparkly stuff and my sausage dog Dilys thinks she looks the most beautiful sausage dog ever because she is wearing her reindeer costume. We bought it for her years ago and every Christmas when the decorations are unpacked, we find her costume and she barks with excitement until we dress her in it, then she parades round to everyone in the house, showing off. None of the other dogs have (or would tolerate) a costume, so Dilys thinks she is special. I think the other dogs think she’s special too, but not in a good way!

Kebra Negast

43. How the men of the Army of ISRAEL received [their] orders And the city rejoiced because the King had made his son King, and had appointed him King from his own territory to that of another. But the city sorrowed also because the King had commanded that they should give their children who were called “firstborn”. And those who were on the right hand should sit in the same way as their fathers sat with King SOLOMON, even so should they sit at the right hand of his son DAVID, the King of ETHIOPIA; and those who were on the left hand should sit as their fathers sat with King SOLOMON, even so should they sit on the left hand of his son DAVID, the King of ETHIOPIA; and their rank should be like that of their fathers, and their names should be like those of their fathers. And each should be according to his ordinance, and each according to his greatness, and each according to his position of authority, and each according to his wages, and each according to his rank; in this wise shall they be. As SOLOMON did to his nobles so shall DAVID do to his nobles; and as SOLOMON ordained for his governors so shall DAVID order the direction of his house.

And the names of those who were appointed to be sent away were these:-

’AZÂRYÂS (AZARIAH), the son of ZÂDÔK, the priest, who was the high priest.
’ÊLYÂS, the son of ’ARNÎ the Archdeacon; now the father of ’ARNÎ was the Archdeacon of NATHAN the prophet.
’ADRÂM, the son of ’ARDĔRÔNES, leader of the peoples.
FANḲÊRÂ, the son of SÔBÂ, scribe of the oxen.
’AKÔNḤÊL, the son of TÔFÊL, the youth.
SÂMNĔYÂS, the son of ’AKÎTÂLAM, the recorder.
FIḲÂRÔS, the son of NĔYÂ, commander of the armed men, that is to say, chief of the troops.
LÊWÂNDÔS, the son of ’AKÎRÊ, commander of the recruits (?).
FÂḲÛTÊN, the son of ’ADRÂY, commander on the sea.
MÂTÂN, the son of BENYÂS, chief of the house.
AD‛ARAZ, the son of KÎRÊM, servant of decorations.
DALAKĔM, the son of MÂTRÊM, chief of the horse-soldiers.
’ADARYÔS, the son of NÊDRÔS, chief of the foot-soldiers.
’AWSTĔRÂN, the son of YÔDÂD, bearer of the “glory”.
’ASTAR’AYÔN, the son of ’ASÂ, messenger of the palace (?).
ÎMÎ, the son of MATÂTYÂS, commander of the host (?)
MÂKRÎ, the son of ’ABÎSÂ, judge of the palace.
’ABÎS, the son of KÂRYÔS, assessor of taxes (tithes ?).
LÎK WENDEYÔS, the son of NÊLENTEYÔS, judge of assembly.
KÂRMÎ, the son of ḤAḌNĔYÂS, chief of the royal workmen.
SERÂNYÂS, the son of ’AKÂZ’ÊL, administrator of the King’s house. 

These are all those who were given to DAVID, king of ETHIOPIA, the son of SOLOMON, King of ISRAEL. And SOLOMON also gave him horses, and chariots, and riding-camels, and mules, and wagons for carrying loads, and gold, and silver, and splendid apparel, and byssus, and purple, and gems, and pearls and precious stones; and he gave his son everything that would be wished for in the country of ETHIOPIA.

And then they made ready to set out, and [though] there was great joy with the nobles of the King of ETHIOPIA, there was sadness with the nobles of the King of ISRAEL, because through the firstborn son of SOLOMON, King of ISRAEL, that is to say, the King of ETHIOPIA, the firstborn sons of the nobles of ISRAEL were given to rule over the country of ETHIOPIA with the son of SOLOMON the King. Then they assembled together and wept, together with their fathers, and their mothers, and their relations, and their kinsfolk, and their peoples, and their countrymen. And they cursed the King secretly and reviled him because he had seized their sons against their will. But unto the King they said, “Because of this thou hast done well. Thy wisdom is so good that the kingdom of ISRAEL, by the Will of God and by thy wisdom, extendeth to the country of ETHIOPIA. And God will gather together the other kingdoms [of the world] into thy hand, for thou hast a right mind towards God, and thou wishest that they shall serve the God of ISRAEL, and that idols may be destroyed out of the world.”

And they praised him and said unto him, “Now know we that God spake concerning thee to our father ABRAHAM [when He said], ‘In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.'” And they made their faces to appear happy, and they jested before him, and they praised him exceedingly (i.e., fulsomely) because of his wisdom. And when they said these things unto him, he understood them in [his] wisdom, and bore with them patiently; now God beareth with us patiently knowing well all our sins. And the whole earth, and the heavens, and the ends of the world, and the sea, and the dry land, are the kingdom of God. He judgeth. And He hath given the earth to the king to be subject unto him, that he may judge (or, rule), as He doth, those who do evil so that he may requite them with evil, and those who do good so that he may reward them with good. For the Spirit of God resteth in the heart of the king, and His hands are in his mind, and His knowledge is in his understanding.

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Reasoning

Command:

1 Chronicles 16 v25-26
25
For great is the LORD, Emperor Haile Selassie I, and greatly to be praised: he also is to be feared above all gods.26 For all gods of the
people are idols: but the LORD made the heavens.

Will:

Psalm 106 v47-48
47
Save us, O LORD our God, Emperor Haile Selassie I, and gather us
from among the heathen, to give thanks unto thy holy name, Emperor Haile Selassie I, and to triumph in thy praise.48 Blessed be the LORD
God, Emperor Haile Selassie I, of Israel from everlasting to everlasting: and let all the people say, Amen. Praise ye the LORD,
Emperor Haile Selassie I.

Desire:

Leviticus 19 v4, 30
4
Turn ye not unto idols, nor make to yourselves molten gods: I am the LORD your God.30 Ye shall keep my sabbaths, and reverence my sanctuary: I am the LORD.

Wish:

1 Kings 8 v 60-61
60
That all the people of the earth may know that the LORD, Emperor Haile Selassie I, is God, and that there is none else.61 Let your heart
therefore be perfect with the LORD, Emperor Haile Selassie I, our God, to walk in his statutes, and to keep his commandments, as at this day.

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History

This week in Ethiopian history….

1960 Ethiopian Coup d’Etat Attempt

This week in 1960 Ethiopia experienced an unsuccessful coup d’etat. Here is the Wikipedia overview of it…..

The 1960 Ethiopian coup d’etat attempt was staged on 13 December 1960. The Council of the Revolution, four conspirators led by brothers Germame Neway and Brigadier General Mengistu Neway, commander of the Kebra Zabangna, sought to overthrow His Imperial Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie during a state visit in order to install a progressive government. The coup leaders declared the beginning of a new government under the rule of Haile Selassie’s eldest son, Crown Prince Asfaw Wossen, that would address the numerous economic and social problems Ethiopia faced. The Council gained control of most of the imperial capital city, Addis Ababa and took several ministers and other important people hostage. Initially successful, the majority of the military and populace quickly aligned against the coup, and by 17 December loyalists had regained control of Addis Ababa. At least 300 people were killed during the coup, including most of the conspirators.

The coup attempt is considered the most serious threat to Haile Selassie’s rule between 1941 and his deposition in 1974 during the Ethiopian Revolution.

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Psalm 113

These words are from the ‘Rastafarian Groundation’ website…..

“From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same
the LORD’S name is to be praised. – Psalm 113:3

The expression of gratitude to God is a fundamental response to His ongoing grace and Presence in our lives. The LORD God of Israel is to be praised, not because He needs our applause, but because this is the spontaneous response to the heart’s apprehension of His glory and goodness to us.”

Psalm 113 is one of a group known as the Hallelujah Psalms. It is classified as a community hymn of praise and calls the people who hear it to praise the name of the Lord for all His goodness to His people. It is a psalm that tells of how God’s love meets the needs of His people…

Psalm 113

1 Praise the Lord.[a]Praise the Lord, you his servants;
praise the name of the Lord.
2 Let the name of the Lord be praised,
both now and forevermore.
3 From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets,
the name of the Lord is to be praised. 4 The Lord is exalted over all the nations,
his glory above the heavens.
5 Who is like the Lord our God,
the One who sits enthroned on high,
6 who stoops down to look
on the heavens and the earth? 7 He raises the poor from the dust
and lifts the needy from the ash heap;
8 he seats them with princes,
with the princes of his people.
9 He settles the childless woman in her home
as a happy mother of children. Praise the Lord.

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Brief Biography of His Imperial Majesty Emperor Amha Selassie I

Taken from Ethiopia Reaches Her Hand Unto God, by Gregory Copley.

Crown Prince Asfa Wossen — who became Emperor Amha Selassie I in 1986 — was born in Harar, Ethiopia, on Hamle 20, 1908, by the Ethiopian calendar: July 27, 1916, by the Western calendar. When he reached school age he was first taught by a tutor in the Palace and later enrolled in Teferi Makonnen School. He then continued his higher education at Liverpool University, in the United Kingdom, where he received his degree in Political Science and Public Administration.1

ASelassie.JPG

His Imperial Majesty Emperor Amha Selassie I, the son of Emperor Haile Selassie I. Emperor Amha Selassie, who died in Washington DC in January 1997, was buried in the Trinity Cathedral in Addis Adaba, February 1997. He re-established the Crown Council in 1993 to revive the campaign to restore Ethiopia’s stability and progress.

From his first marriage to Princess Wolete Israel, the couple gave birth to Princess Ejigayehu. Crown Prince Asfa Wossen was then wed to Princess Medferiash Work Abebe, and established a family of four children, including HIH Prince Zere Yacob Amha Selassie, who was later himself named Crown Prince. 

During the coronation of Emperor Haile Selassie I in 1930, Prince Asfa Wossen was confirmed as Crown Prince and heir to the throne. 

Besides fulfilling his various duties as Crown Prince, Emperor Amha Selassie served his country as governor of the provinces of Begémdir, Tigré and Wollo at different times. In these provinces, he carried out numerous development projects, including the construction of roads, hospitals, and numerous schools and orphanages. He also served on the Crown Council — often acting as President in the Emperor’s absence — and as Chairman of the Ethiopian Red Cross. 

In the war against Italian occupation (1935-1941), the young Crown Prince acted as the right hand of the Emperor in every international diplomatic campaign to get material and moral support for the resistance. At the age of 20, he was leading his own troops in battle. During some of this period, when the Italians occupied the country, Crown Prince Asfa Wossen and his father organized the resistance from Jerusalem, and then from a home in Bath, England. It was while he was in exile that the Crown Prince attended Liverpool University. When the time came for re-entry to Ethiopia, Crown Prince Asfa Wossen came via South Africa, while his father came through the Sudan. The object was to ensure that, under any circumstances, the Crown would survive the death of one or other of the two. And in the final battles to route the Italian occupation forces in Ethiopia, it was Crown Prince Asfa Wossen who led the military campaign against the Italian garrisons entrenched in and around Gondar city, thereby flushing out the last remnants of Italian resistance. 

Crown Prince Asfa Wossen suffered a sudden stroke in 1972, and was taken to Switzerland in 1973 for medical care. And it was during this period of convalescence that political turmoil broke out in Ethiopia and a coup led by a junior Army officer, Mengistu Haile Mariam, dragged the country into an era of dictatorship and oppression, civil war and economic decline. Crown Prince Asfa Wossen moved to London to begin his exile, and while still trying to recover from the effects of the stroke, he closely monitored events in Ethiopia, maintaining contact with resistance movements inside and just outside the country. 

The Crown Prince formed a Government-in-Exile in London, and it was this Government along with the Crown Council which, on April 6, 1988, proclaimed him Negusa Negest ze Ethiopia (King of Kings of Ethiopia). He took the Throne name Amha Selassie I. 

Emperor Amha Selassie I became the 226th ruler of Ethiopia since his forebear, Menelik I, son of Solomon and Queen Makeda, took the throne some 3,000 years earlier. During the ceremony proclaiming him Emperor, his wife, Princess Medferiash Work Abebe, was named Empress, and his son, Prince Zere Yacob, was named Crown Prince. 

Just over a year later, on October 23, 1989, Emperor Amha Selassie moved to the United States, which was home to many thousands of Ethiopian exiles. From there, he began working with the Ethiopian exile community to further coordinate efforts to restore a constitutional Monarchy and bring peace to Ethiopia. It was during this period that a pro-Constitutional Monarchy movement called Mo’a Anbessa (literally, “The Conquering Lion”) was formed. In an historic gathering on June 29, 1991, Mo’a Anbessa announced its mission and proclaimed the Emperor as its Honorary Chairman. 

A “fact sheet” released by Mo’a Anbessa in February 1992 said that the organization “transcends all parties, and its membership straddles across the boundaries of all political organizations”. The organization pledged “its full support to all democratic forces both within and outside Ethiopia who are dedicated to the cause of building a pluralistic society and market-driven economy”. The statement added: “The weight and moral authority of the monarchy can usefully co-exist and complement a democratically-elected government, for example in Great Britain or Japan.”2

The Emperor, meanwhile, established the Haile Selassie I Peace Foundation, to provide a range of humanitarian, educational medical aid services to Ethiopians inside and outside the country. 

Emperor Amha Selassie was, like his father, widely decorated by foreign governments and leaders both during his period as Crown Prince, and later in Exile. 

During a 1992 press conference at the National Press Club, in Washington DC, His Imperial Majesty spoke of his plans to return soon to his native country where he planned to enter peaceful negotiation with the administration which had seized power from the outgoing Dergue in 1991. Ill health, however, dogged the Emperor, whose mobility was severely hampered by the paralyzing effects of his 1972 stroke. 

Emperor Amha Selassie died in the Washington DC area of the United States — at the Fair Oaks Hospital, in Fairfax, Virginia — on January 17, 1997, at the age of 80. A large turnout attended the Memorial Service for the Emperor in Washington DC. His body was flown to Addis Ababa for a private funeral and, despite the lack of official publicity surrounding the event, the Emperor’s return to his native land resulted in a massive show of public sympathy. He was buried next to his two brothers at the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Addis Ababa on Sunday, February 2, 1997. 

But several years before his death, working with his advisors — and particularly the Afe-Negus,3 Teshome Haile Mariam, the former Chief Justice of Ethiopia and former Ethiopian Imperial Ambassador to the United States — the Emperor reconvened and reconstituted the Ethiopian Crown Council. In doing this, he named his nephew, Prince Ermias Sahle-Selassie Haile Selassie, to the post of President of the Council, and his grandson, Prince Bekere Fikre-Selassie as Viceroy or Enderassé

The institutions built by Emperor Amha Selassie survive his passing: the reconstituted Crown Council; the Haile Selassie I Peace Foundation; and Mo’a Anbessa remain particularly active. 

He was survived by his wife, Empress Medferiash Work Abebe; his son, Crown Prince Zere Yacob Amha Selassie and Prince Zere Yacob’s sisters (Mariam Sena, Sehin, Sefrash); his grandchildren from his first wife, Princess Wolete-Israel Seyoum, by his eldest daughter Princess Ejig-Ayehu Amha Selassie (Samson, Rahel, Mehret, Bekere, Aster and Yishaq); and his surviving sister, Princess Tenagne Work Haile Selassie.

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The Wise Words oh His Imperial Majesty, Emperor Haile Selassie

“Education is a means of sharpening the mind of man both spiritually and intellectually. It is a two-edged sword that can be used either for the progress of mankind or for its destruction. That is why it has been Our constant desire and endeavor to develop our education for the benefit of mankind”.

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Prayer

Let Jah name be praised, and let worry be gone    Jah will guide us through bad and good times    Praise to the Most High, Jah Rastafarai  O Most High Heavenly Jah, please bless those who are still blind

Those on the verge of knowing you and those who want to know you more  Thank you for your Word which comes in many different forms to us earthly people

I thank you Jah for my everyday life   Blessed be my family, enemies and friends   May all the souls of the good departed Rest In Peace       Jah Bless

Our Father who is in the highest mountain of Zion    The bread that we need everyday bring it to us today      For you are the father of peace love and harmony

Bring unity among Jah people   Prevent any evil men from controlling Our destiny    Praise in the name of Jah Ras Tafari

Selah

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We are almost all sparklied-up. My middle daughter’s cat, Amy, has a sparkly-pipe-cleaner-fixation. Every Christmas, when the boxes of decorations come out, she tries to sneak in and find them to steal. She carries them round the house like a set of sparkly whiskers and them plays with them, leaping and dancing around. At about 4am this morning she found another one and was so pleased with it she brought it to show me and played with it on my pillow. I was not as impressed with it as she was!

Every year I re-find my favourite photo of Amy….the photo that someone took when she was a kitten and first saw a Christmas tree. I love this photo…

I am hoping that we will be able to hold a meeting on the 24th December…..hopefully! So I will see you with this letter this week and then everyone all together for Christmas! Something to look forward to…I am very much!

Blessings,

Elizabeth

December 4th 2020

ITS SNOWING!!!!

Big feathery flakes of snow falling from the sky, shining in the beam of the outside light in the dark.

I’ve just got back from driving in the snow. We have an old 4×4 farm vehicle that gets us around across fields, in mud and snow and ice. My husband Pete takes his dog out for 2 walks per day, of about an hour per time….otherwise none of us could cope with her. She’s very clever, extremely bouncy and can find mischief in an empty room.

They headed out for a walk this evening…..it’s a really dark murky night. About half an hour in, I got a phone call to go and rescue them….Anya had hurt her leg, please could I go and get them. And ‘please could I take the farm vehicle’. It’s 4 wheel drive, but also has a flat back so we could lay her down if she was very injured.

So I set off, it was tipping down with snow and…..oh my goodness…..the steering has gone! I hauled the steering wheel round every corner, down dark, snowy country roads til I saw my husband with his head torch. We got Anya into the car, she was obviously feeling sorry for herself, and Pete said that she had suddenly stopped being able to walk on one of her back legs.

We’ve got her back home now and checked her over. There is no blood but she won’t put her back paw to the floor. I think she’s sprained it. She can’t boiing at the moment. I think she’s going to need a trip to the vets tomorrow.

I’ve been busy reading for my essay….3000 words by the end of December! Arrrgghhh! Lenny has been snuggling up with me while I have been reading…

Out of my favourite window there are no leaves left on the trees, the air is full of snow and cold. It feels wintery now. There’s so much I want to do that I usually do….baking, wrapping presents, making the Christmas puddings, decorating the Christmas tree, getting the bits and pieces of the Christmas dinner ready and in the freezer….and instead, I am reading about the doctrine of creation and trying to get my head around theology in a kitchen that looks like explosions have happened, cos Lenny and I have to read these books so that I can write my essay!

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Kebra Negast

42. Concerning the Ten Commandments “And hear ye, ISRAEL, that which God commandeth you to keep; He saith, ‘I am the Lord thy God Who hath brought thee out of the land of EGYPT and out of the house of bondage. There shall be no other gods besides Me, and thou shalt not make any god that is graven, and no god that is like what is in the heavens above, or in the earth beneath, or in the water which is under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down to them, and thou shalt not serve them, for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God. [I am He] Who visiteth the sin of the father on the children to the third and fourth generation of those who hate Me, and I perform mercy to a thousand (or, ten thousand) generations of those who love Me and keep My commandments.

“Thou shalt not swear a false oath in the Name of the Lord thy God, for the Lord will not hold innocent the man who sweareth a false oath in His Name.

“And observe the day of the Sabbath to sanctify it, even as the Lord thy God commanded. Six days thou shalt do thy work, and on the seventh day, the Sabbath of the Lord thy God, thou shalt do no work at all, neither thyself, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, nor thy nor thine ass, nor any beast, nor the stranger that abideth with thee. For in six days God made the heavens and the earth, and the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day, and because of this God blessed the seventh day and declared it free [from work].

“Honour thy father and thy mother so that may be good to thee the many days that thou shalt find in the land which the Lord thy God hath given thee.

“Thou shalt not go with the wife of [another] man.

“Thou shalt not slay a life.

“Thou shalt not commit fornication. Thou shalt not steal.

“Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.

“Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his house, nor his land, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his cattle, nor his ass, nor any of the beasts that thy neighbour hath acquired.”

This is the word which God hath spoken, His Law and His Ordinance. And those who sin He rebuketh, so that they may not be confirmed in error, and may restrain themselves from the pollution wherewith God is not pleased. And this is the thing with which God is not pleased, and it is right that men should abstain from it.

“No man shall uncover the shame of one with whom he hath kinship; for I am the Lord your God. The shame of thy father and mother thou shalt not uncover, for it is thy mother. Thou shalt not uncover the shame of thy father’s wife, for it is the shame of thy mother. Thou shalt not uncover the shame of thy sister who was begotten by thy father or thy mother. Whether she was born unto him from outside or whether she is a kinswoman of thine thou shalt not uncover her shame. Thou shalt not uncover the shame either of thy son’s daughter, or the shame of the daughter of thy daughter, for it is thine own shame. Thou shalt not uncover the shame of the daughter of thy father’s wife, for she is thy sister, the daughter of thy mother, and thou shalt not uncover her shame. Thou shalt not uncover the shame of thy father’s sister, for she is of thy father’s house. Thou shalt not uncover the shame of thy mother’s sister, for she is of thy mother’s house. Thou shalt not uncover the shame of the wife of thy father’s brother, for she is thy kin[swoman]. Thou shalt not uncover the shame of thy son’s wife, for she is thy son’s wife. Thou shalt not uncover the shame of thy daughter and the wife of thy brother’s son, for it is thine own shame. Thou shalt not uncover the shame of thy brother’s wife, for it is thy brother’s shame as long as thy brother liveth. Thou shalt not uncover the shame of a woman and that of her daughter, nor that of the daughter of her son, nor that of the daughter of her daughter. Thou shalt not cause their shame to be uncovered; it is thy house and it is sin.

“And thou shalt not take to wife a maiden and her sister so as to make them jealous each of the other, and thou shalt not uncover their shame, nor the shame of the one or the other as long as the first sister is alive. Thou shalt not go to a menstruous woman, until she is purified, to uncover her shame whilst she is still unclean. And thou shalt not go to the wife of thy neighbour to lie with her, and thou shalt not let thy seed enter her.

“And thou shalt not vow thy children to MOLOCH to defile the Name of the Holy One, the Name of the Lord. 

“And thou shalt not lie with a man as with a woman, for it is pollution.

“And thou shalt not go to a beast and thou shalt not lie with it so as to make thy seed go out upon it, that thou mayest not be polluted thereby. And a woman shall not go to a beast to lie with it, for it is pollution. And ye shall not pollute yourselves with any of these things, for with them the nations whom I have driven out before you have polluted themselves, and with them ye shall not pollute your bodies.

“And sanctify ye your souls and your bodies to God, for He is the Holy One, and He loveth those who sanctify their souls and their bodies to Him. For He is holy, and to be feared, and He is high, and merciful, and compassionate. And to Him praise is meet for ever and ever. Amen.”

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Reasoning

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing , but to us who are being saved it is the power of God (1 Corinthians 18 )

His Imperial Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie I enters Ethiopia(Abyssinia) and raises the Ethiopian Flag .”The flag with the green, yellow, and red, with Our seal “the Lion of Judah hath prevailed”(Revelation 5:5) is the symbol of Ethiopia’s independence, it’s a symbol of freedom.” – Girmawi Qedamawi Haile Selassie”The value of a flag springs from the sacrifices made to defend it, as the symbol of Our independence. Otherwise there is no difference between a flag and any other piece of cloth. – Girmawi Qedamawi Haile SelassieOur flag is a source of eternal inspiration, loyalty, and a symbol of the sacred duty and obligation as a soldier – to him it is a moral sentinel.” – Girmawi Qedamawi Haile SelassieEtiyopia lezelalem tinur!!!

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Today, I’ve put a different set of ideas and images for you for the Reasoning, for a change. These are from the ‘Twelve Tribe Order in Rastafari Movement’ website.

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Isaiah 40

It’s approaching Christmas. I know it’s always a bittersweet time of the year for you….another year, away from family and friends. It’s a difficult balance I have to tread. I don’t want to remind you of what is missing but it’s still an important time of the year for me and it’s also difficult to ignore. So, the best I have decided I can do is to share mine with you, in the ways that I can. I will come in on Christmas Eve, hopefully we will be able to have a meeting, I will be shedding more glitter & be wearing more Christmas sparkles than an average Christmas tree (feel free to laugh at me, but only when I can’t hear….I WILL have my bionic ears in!). I think we will probably find a way of making Christmas better than just an ordinary day, even if it can’t be the best.

Here is an advent reading, the first part of Isaiah 40….

40 Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God.

Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the Lord’s hand double for all her sins.

The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.

Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain:

And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.

The voice said, Cry. And he said, What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field:

The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: because the spirit of the Lord bloweth upon it: surely the people is grass.

The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.

O Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God!

10 Behold, the Lord God will come with strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him: behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him.

11 He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.

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This is going to come to an abrupt stop…sorry! I managed to fall down some slippery steps outside, bang my head really hard (I’ve got a good sized bruise) and hurt my arm, so I had to give up writing this for a few days. I think I gave myself mild concussion and couldn’t do a lot without feeling pretty rough.

So this letter is going to be much shorter than usual, just for this week, I’m really sorry! I will end with a prayer and then get this printed out, so at least you have something, even if it’s not great….and I will see you all tomorrow when I come into Berwyn. I think of the stupid things I’ve done recently, I prefer dyeing myself blue than trying to fly down steps!

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Prayer

THE HOUSE OF RASTAFARI. LET I AND I DWELL IN TOGETHER. LET’S PRAY JAH RASTAFARI TOGETHER. LET HIM ARISE. THE POWAH AND THE GLORY. JAH PEACE AND LOVE. UNITY OF JAH CHILDREN. BOWING TO JAH KNEES. FOR HE IS WORTHY TO BE PRAISED. LET I AND I GIVE THANKS AND HONOR.

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November 30th 2020

Brrrr! It’s a cold day today and the fire in my kitchen has gone out for the first time in about 2 weeks, so it is bitter cold in here. Dilys (my sausage dog) and I have retreated under a blanket on the couch. The smart thing to do would be to light the fire again, but that would mean crawling out from under the blanket and that would make me cold, even if it was only for a short time…..so Dilys and I are going to stay here and write to you.

I am now un-smurfed, not even a pale shade of blue. I’ve finally returned to my usual colour…..but my family are still laughing at me. They still think that they can see a blue tint to me in a strong light.

This week, we have been mostly eating dust…dust sandwiches, a layer of dust over the top of the soup I’ve made. I’ve been drinking crunchy coffee and the cats, much to their disgust, have had a layer of sawdust on their water bowls. The dogs don’t care, they will drink anything….puddle water, ditch water, crunchy water. We’ve taken up the carpet in my room, the floor boards are beautiful underneath and so the old varnish is being taken off and the floor boards sanded. Archie, my big grey cat, is disgruntled. He doesn’t like the noise, he doesn’t like the dust, the noise is keeping him awake (he’s nearly 14 now), so every so often he sticks his head round the bedroom door and yells a full-on scream of a meow at Richie, the man doing the work, and then runs away again. We think what he is saying is very rude and ends on ‘off’ but luckily Richie doesn’t speak cat so he hasn’t been offended.

I’ve just looked at the weather forecast…..

SNOW!!!

Anything that says sleet for everyone else is snow for us. I should have grown out of the excitement of snow but I still haven’t. I love snow, even though it’s hard work with all our animals….making footprints in fresh snow, the way the world goes all quiet and eerie. I think this, if it’s anything, it is just going to be an insignificant smattering of snow, but I can’t wait for the first time each year I see that snowflake on the weather forecast.

Kebra Negast

41. Concerning the blessing of Kings “Hearken thou now to the blessing that shall come upon thee, if thou wilt do the Will of God. Thou shalt be blessed in all thy ways, blessed shalt thou be in the city, blessed shalt thou be in the field, blessed shalt thou be in thy house, blessed shalt thou be outside it, and blessed shall be the fruit of thy belly. And those who were gathered together said, Amen. Blessed shall be the fruit of thy land. Amen. Blessed shall be the fountains of thy waters. Amen. Blessed shall be the fruit that thou hast planted. Amen. Blessed shall be thy cattle-runs and the flocks of thy sheep. Amen. Blessed shall be thy granaries and thy barns. Amen. Blessed shalt thou be in thy coming in. Amen. Blessed shalt thou be in thy going forth. Amen.

“And God shall bring to thee thine enemies who have risen up against thee, and they shall be trodden small beneath thy feet. Amen. And God shall send His blessing on thy houses and on everything to which thou hast put thine hand. Amen. And God shall multiply for thee good things, namely, children of thy body, produce of thy land, and births among thy flocks and herds. Amen. And in the land which He swore [to give to] thy fathers, He will give thee according to the days of heaven. Amen. And God shall open for thee the storehouse of the blessing of the heavens, and He shall give thee blessed rain, and shall bless the fruit of thy labour. Amen. Thou shalt lend unto many peoples, but thou shalt not borrow. Amen. Thou shalt rule over many nations, but they shall not rule over thee. Amen. And God shall set thee at the head and not at the tail, and thou shalt be at the top and not at the bottom. Amen. And thou shalt gather together of every blessing of the land for thy flocks and herds, and thou shalt take the spoil of the nations for thine army, and they shall bow down to thee to the face of the earth, to thy sovereignty, because of the greatness of thy glory. Thine honour shall rise up like the cedar, and like the Morning Star, the brilliance of thy glory shall be before all the nations of the earth, and before every tribe of thy people ISRAEL.

“For God shall be with thee in all thy ways, and He will perform thy will in everything that thou determinest. And thou shalt inherit the countries of thine enemy, and the greatness of thy people shall be praised because of the greatness of thine awesomeness, and because of the multitude of thy soldiers. And all those who do not perform the Will of God will fear thee because thou dost do His Will, and dost serve Him, and therefore He will give thee great majesty in the sight of those who see thee. Their hearts shall tremble before the bridle of thy horses, and the quiver of thy bow, and the glitter of thy shield, and they shall bow down to the face of the earth, for their hearts shall be terrified at the sight of thy majesty. And when those who are in the mountains see thee afar off they shall come down to the plain, and those who are on the seas and in the deep waters shall come forth, so that the Lord may bring them into thy hand, because they have transgressed the command of God. And thou, when thou doest His Will, shalt receive from Him everything for which thou hast asked; for if thou lovest Him He will love thee, and if thou keepest His commandment He will grant thee the petition of thy heart, and everything that thou seekest thou shalt receive from Him. For He is the Good One to the good, and the Compassionate to the compassionate, and He doeth the will of those who fear Him, and He giveth a reward to those who wait patiently for Him. Be patient in respect of wrath, and at the end He will make thee to rejoice; love righteousness and He will make life to blossom for thee. Be a good man to the good, and a reprover of sinners. And put aside the wickedness of the evil man by rebuking and correcting him, and condemn and disgrace the evil man who doeth violence to his neighbour in the court of law. And do justice to the poor man and to the orphans, and release them from the hand of him that doeth them wrong. And deliver him that is forsaken and the man who is in misery, and release him from the hand of him that causeth him to suffer. Judge not with partiality, and have no respect of persons, but judge righteously. When thou undertakest to judge, love not gifts (i.e., bribes) and accept not persons. And admonish thy governors (or, judges) that they be free from the taking of gifts, and that they accept not the persons of their friends, or of their enemies, or of rich or poor, in giving judgment; and they shall surely judge their neighbours in righteousness, and with a just judgment.

*

Reasoning

Command

2 Samuel 5 v3, 12
3
So all the elders of Israel came to the king to Hebron; and king David made a league with them in Hebron before the LORD: and they anointed David king over Israel.
12 And David perceived that the LORD had established him king over
Israel, and that he had exalted his kingdom for his people Israel’s sake.

Will

Psalm 101 v1-8
1
I will sing of mercy and judgement: unto thee, O LORD, will I sing.
2 I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way. O when wilt thou come unto me? I will walk within my house with a perfect heart.
3 I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me.
4 A froward heart shall depart from me; I will not know a wicked person.
5 Whoso privily slandereth has neighbour, he will I cut off: him that
hath an high look and a proud heart will not I suffer.
6 Mine eyes shall be upon the faithful of the land, that they may dwell with me: he that walketh in a perfect way, he shall serve me.
7 He that worketh deceit shall not dwell within my house: he that telleth lies shall not tarry in my sight.
8 I will early destroy all the wicked of the land; that I may cut off all wicked doers from the city of the LORD.

Desire

Jeremiah 23 v5-6
5
Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a
righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute
judgment and justice in the earth.
6 In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name, Emperor Haile Selassie I, whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.

Wish

Isaiah 12 v4, 6
4
And in that day shall ye say, Praise the LORD, Emperor Haile Selassie I, call upon his name, Emperor Haile Selassie I, declare his doings among the people, make mention that his name, Emperor
Haile Selassie I
, is exalted.6 Cry out and shout, thou inhabitant of Zion: for great is the Holy One of Israel, Emperor Haile Selassie I, in the midst of thee.

*

Proverbs 8

You had the first half of Proverbs 8 last week, now the second half this week. We are starting from verse 22 this time. Proverbs 8 was written by King Solomon, who was known in his early reign for being wise. In Proverbs 8, verse 22 onwards, he talks about wisdom being as old as creation, there from the beginning of the world. He also advises:

Now then, my children, listen to me; blessed are those who keep my ways. 33 Listen to my instruction and be wise; do not disregard it.

Wisdom is described elsewhere in the bible (proverbs 2) as a ‘gift from a generous God’ and with that gift ‘you will discover all that is just, proper, and fair, and be empowered to make the right decisions
as you walk into your destiny’.

That is a good gift in life….to be able to make good choices as you aim towards a better future! …..

22 “The Lord brought me forth as the first of his works,[c][d]
    before his deeds of old;
23 I was formed long ages ago,
    at the very beginning, when the world came to be.
24 When there were no watery depths, I was given birth,
    when there were no springs overflowing with water;
25 before the mountains were settled in place,
    before the hills, I was given birth,
26 before he made the world or its fields
    or any of the dust of the earth.
27 I was there when he set the heavens in place,
    when he marked out the horizon on the face of the deep,
28 when he established the clouds above
    and fixed securely the fountains of the deep,
29 when he gave the sea its boundary
    so the waters would not overstep his command,
and when he marked out the foundations of the earth.
30     Then I was constantly[e] at his side.
I was filled with delight day after day,
    rejoicing always in his presence,
31 rejoicing in his whole world
    and delighting in mankind.

32 “Now then, my children, listen to me;
blessed are those who keep my ways.
33 Listen to my instruction and be wise;
do not disregard it.
34 Blessed are those who listen to me,
watching daily at my doors,
waiting at my doorway.
35 For those who find me find life
and receive favor from the Lord.
36 But those who fail to find me harm themselves;
all who hate me love death.”

*

The Wise Words of His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie I

A nation can achieve a healthy and full growth, provided balanced measures
are taken in all fields of activity. Guided by this principle and in accordance
with the resources that We have at Our disposal, We for Our part have and
shall continue to work for the full realization of the said objective.

Progress and work have no boundaries. It is, therefore, the duty of everyone of
us to contribute in full measure his share to this noble aim. We should always
bear in mind that education and modern civilization are the fruits of hard
labour.

(From a speech December 11th 1966)

*

*

Prayer

This is an old prayer, written by St Patrick in the 4th Century, but I thought the words were beautiful…..

Lord, be with us this day,
Within us to purify us;
Above us to draw us up;
Beneath us to sustain us;
Before us to lead us;
Behind us to restrain us;
Around us to protect us.

*

Oh dear! I’ve just looked out the door and seen this…

This is Gwen, my middle daughter’s dog…who would make a champion bog-snorkeller, I think. My daughter took her for a walk before her online lesson and Gwen rolled in something that smelled horrific and then went swimming down a disgusting ditch/stream. So, my daughter brought her back, only just in time for her lesson, and there was a lot of chore-negotiating and my son has marched Gwen off for about 10 rinses under the shower using industrial strength shampoo. I assume I’m going to discover my daughter doing my son’s chores later.

I opened a lovely parcel from one of my best friends this morning……

….a new mug (photo starring Chloe AKA Scabby Tabby, eating her biscuits). My friend lives too far away from me, across county and COVID divides, it’s ages since we’ve met up and it seems like it’s going to continue like that. The rules are so confusing that it seems easier and safer to just stay in our little bubble.

I did adventure out earlier this week….I took my son and one of my ‘spare teenagers’ out Christmas shopping, at a weird hour when there was almost no one around. It was very funny…they are also friends with a ‘girl’, and they had to buy her a present, I think first time they have ever had to buy a none-sister-y sort of girl a present. They hadn’t got a clue!! They kept on thinking of all sorts of things that they might want, until they decided to buy her false eyelashes (?!). I’m not sure she even wears false eyelashes, but they certainly weren’t buying them on their own…this was a group outing, with a need for full-on moral support from me. She’s going to look like she’s been attacked by hairy caterpillars…they wouldn’t be steered towards the subtle ones (I’ve met the girl in question many times and she’s never struck me as a huge false eyelash sort of a girl…but at least it meant that we left the shopping centre, with a gift, before midnight!)….and, just in case, they bought her chocolate. I think they are wise. I think that will make it all okay.

It’s now the start of advent and anyone who was in the Rastafari group last year will remember that this is when I start getting glittery. Every year I start increasing my ‘Christmas-i-ness’ (not a word, I know…but it explains what I need it to) each week until just before Christmas, when it’s full- on glitter, antlers and lights….so it starts this week! I’ve warned you! 😊

Blessings,

Elizabeth

November 15th 2020

Hi,

I hope last week’s meeting managed to go ahead and everything went well with it.

Pete, Pete’s dog Anya and I have been on an expedition today to pick up an 1820’s cast iron fireplace. I’m still doing my bedroom up. We’ve taken out the carpet, discovered beautiful floorboards (they need a good clean and a polish but they will be beautiful) and a slate hearth where the fire used to go. So I got onto eBay to find a fireplace to go in the space. It won’t be able to have a real fire in it but I think it will look lovely.

We had to wait til the end of the Welsh lockdown to go to pick it up and then set off in the farm vehicle, cos it doesn’t matter so much if it gets dirty. Anya sat in the back, watching out the window.

Considering her nickname is Boiiing, she’s very well behaved in the car and sits nicely, watching cars go by, and doesn’t bounce around like an idiot (like she does everywhere else). The man selling the fireplace was lovely and helped us load it into the car, and even gave us some extra tiles he had found that matched. He obviously wasn’t used to dogs because he looked at Anya with suspicion ( she was doing her best stupid impression at this point, doing laps of the car and barking her head off).

The problem was that in order to fit the fireplace in the car we had to put the seats down, so poor Anya had to balance all the way home on the folded-down seats in the back, like she was on a surfboard. I do think she could manage to surf if she was given the chance but maybe not for that long!

It’s got cold this week and set to get colder again. I have a small roof light window in my house, which I spend quite a lot of time looking out of….it’s my view on the weather, on the seasons. It is a tiny piece of view which faces up and out towards the woods I walk in. I can just see the beech trees and the sky. I gauge the seasons from there…the weather, but also the leaves on the trees. I can watch the stars at night, sometimes see the meteors, the full moon. I can hear the foxes barking, the owls calling…sometimes, very blessed, see the barn owls there. I see the bright summer sun, the rain, the trees bowing under the gales. If I open the window wide enough when it snows, the snow falls on me….which I love! This week my trees have gone from dressed in copper leaves to completely bare, ready for the gales at the end of this week.

I love this Bob Marley quote about happiness!

Scotland is forecast snow. People are starting to talk about Christmas. It’s no good, I’m going to have to dig out my glitter and my antlers! For anyone who wasn’t in Berwyn last year, I started with wearing a little bit of glitter in the beginning of December, to all out wearing Christmas lights and full-on glitter, bells….and antlers by the last day before Christmas in Berwyn. Which was fine…until I had to walk the group back and my antlers were difficult to steer in the wind. 😊

I have to show you this photo……

I just walked into the kitchen to Gwen, my middle daughter’s golden retriever, lying on the floor looking like that! She’s trying to tempt anyone who walks past her to give her a cuddle, but she looks ridiculous!

Kebra Negast

39. How they made the Son of SOLOMON King And they made ready the ointment of the oil of kingship, and the sounds of the large horn, and the small horn, and the flute and the pipes, and the harp and the drum filled the air; and the city resounded with cries of joy and gladness. And they brought the young man into the Holy of Holies, and he laid hold upon the horns of the altar, and sovereignty was given unto him by the mouth of ZADOK the priest, and by the mouth of JOAS (BENAIAH) the priest, the commander of the army of King SOLOMON, and he anointed him with the holy oil of the ointment of kingship. And he went out from the house of the Lord, and they called his name DAVID, for the name of a king came to him by the law. And they made him to ride upon the mule of King SOLOMON, and they led him round about the city, and said, “We have appointed thee from this moment”; and then they cried out to him, “Bâḥ [Long] live the royal father!” And there were some who said, “It is meet and right that thy dominion of ETHIOPIA shall be from the River of EGYPT to the west of the sun (i.e., to the setting sun); blessed be thy seed upon the earth!-and from SHOA to the east of INDIA, for thou wilt please [the people of these lands]. And the Lord God of ISRAEL shall be unto thee a guide, and the Tabernacle of the Law of God shall be with all that thou lookest upon. And all thine enemies and foes shall be overthrown before thee, and completion and finish shall be unto thee and unto thy seed after thee; thou shalt judge many nations and none shall judge thee.” And again his father blessed him and said unto him, “The blessing of heaven and earth shall be thy blessing,” and all the congregation of ISRAEL said, “Amen.” And his father also said unto ZADOK the priest, “Make him to know and tell him concerning the judgment and decree of God which he shall observe there” [in ETHIOPIA].

*

Reasoning

Command:

Deuteronomy 31 v11-13
11
When all Israel is come to appear before the LORD thy God in the place which he shall choose, thou shalt read this law before all Israel in their hearing.
12 Gather the people together, men, and women, and children, and thy stranger that is within thy gates, that they may hear, and that they may learn, and fear the LORD your God, Emperor Haile Selassie I, and
observe to do all the words of this law:
13 And that their children, which have not known any thing, may hear, and learn to fear the LORD your God, Emperor Haile Selassie I, as
long as ye live in the land whither ye go over Jordan to possess it.

Will:

Proverbs 22 v6, 19
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.

Desire:

Act 2 v39, 47
39
For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God, Emperor Haile Selassie I,
shall call.
47 Praising God, Emperor Haile Selassie I, and having favour with all
the people. And the Lord, Emperor Haile Selassie I, added to the church daily such as should be saved.

Wish:

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.

*

*

From the Rastafarian Groundation Website:

From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same
the LORD’S name is to be praised. – Psalm 113:3

The expression of gratitude to God is a fundamental response to His ongoing grace and Presence in our lives. The LORD God of Israel is to be praised, not because He needs our applause, but because this is the spontaneous response to the heart’s apprehension of His glory and goodness to us.

The following little phrase is used to express the truth that the LORD is a King who is worthy to be praised:

Blessed are You, LORD, a King to be praised in adoration.

*

Psalm 113

Psalm 113 is known as an ‘Hallelujah Psalm’, one that was sung as a blessing.

“From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets,
the name of the Lord is to be praised.”

…..out of my little bit of a window on the world, or at least my bit of ‘woodland and weather’, I can see the sun as it has risen. If I climb on the table and stick my head out the window (no, don’t ask me how I know this…..I would never behave like that!) and turn to face the other way, I can see the sun’s setting. And yes, the Lord is praised!

When my son was little, I used to drive him to school every morning. My children and I used to love the dark cosy mornings where we sat and had breakfast together, with the dark outside, before we set off into the world for the day. I used to try to do a different breakfast every day of the week so they never got fed-up…some mornings porridge, cooked breakfast, fruit, scones…all sorts. Then we would sit together and have breakfast, calm and peace before the busyness of the day. Kind words and love before the world interrupted.

Then my daughters would get a taxi to high school because it was such a long way and I would drive my son. He used to love driving towards the sun rise.

The first morning back after the Christmas break, he told me that he knew why there wasn’t any beautiful sunrises over the Christmas holidays. I knew it was because he hadn’t been out of bed early enough to see them for the whole holiday but was interested to hear his explanation. ‘Energy saving’, he told me, looking very wise!

Psalm 113

Praise the Lord.[a]

Praise the Lord, you his servants;
praise the name of the Lord.
2 Let the name of the Lord be praised,
both now and forevermore.
3 From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets,
the name of the Lord is to be praised.

The Lord is exalted over all the nations,
    his glory above the heavens.
Who is like the Lord our God,
    the One who sits enthroned on high,
who stoops down to look
    on the heavens and the earth?

He raises the poor from the dust
    and lifts the needy from the ash heap;
he seats them with princes,
    with the princes of his people.
He settles the childless woman in her home
    as a happy mother of children.

Praise the Lord.

*

I found this explanation on the BBC of the unrest that has been happening in Ethiopia. It seemed to me to cover the main points, without too much bias and thought you all might be interested…

Ethiopia’s Tigray crisis

A conflict between the government of Ethiopia and forces in its northern Tigray region has thrown the country into turmoil.

Fighting has been going on for almost two weeks, destabilising the populous country in East Africa, with reports of hundreds dead.

A power struggle, an election and a push for political reform are among several factors that led to the crisis.

Here, we’ve broken them down to explain how and why this conflict has flared.

The conflict started on 4 November, when Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed ordered a military offensive against regional forces in Tigray.

He said he did so in response to an attack on a military base housing government troops in Tigray.

The escalation came after months of feuding between Mr Abiy’s government and leaders of Tigray’s dominant political party.

For almost three decades, the party was at the centre of power, before it was sidelined by Mr Abiy, who took office in 2018 after anti-government protests.

Mr Abiy pursued reforms, but when Tigray resisted, a political crisis ensued.

Ethiopia, Africa’s oldest independent country, has undergone sweeping changes since Mr Abiy came to power.

A member of the Oromo, Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group, Mr Abiy made appeals to political reform, unity and reconciliation in his first speech as prime minister.

His agenda was spurred by the demands of protesters who felt Ethiopia’s political elite had obstructed the country’s transition to democracy.

The Tigrayan politicians that led the ruling coalition for 27 years were deemed to be part of the problem.

In the 1970s and 1980s their party, the TPLF, fought a war to wrest control of government from a military junta known as the Derg. The party succeeded, becoming a leading member of the coalition government that took power in 1991.

The coalition gave autonomy to Ethiopia’s regions, but retained a tight grip on central government, with critics accusing it of repressing political opposition.

Now the party finds itself in opposition. 

In 2019, it refused to participate in Mr Abiy’s new government and merge with his Prosperity Party.

This snub was followed by further escalations.

Tigray’s decision to hold its own election in September, for example, was an unprecedented act of defiance against the central government. 

Since then, both governments have designated each other as “illegitimate”. 

Tigray argues that the central government has not been tested in a national election since Mr Abiy’s appointment as prime minister.

Tigray has also called out the prime minister for his “unprincipled” friendship with Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki. 

There has long been animosity between Tigray and the government in Eritrea, which shares a border with the region.

A dispute over territory along this border was the cause of a war fought between Ethiopia and Eritrea from 1998 until 2000.

You may remember this dispute making headlines in 2018.

That year, Mr Abiy signed a peace treaty with Eritrea’s government, ending the territorial spat. 

A year later, Mr Abiy won the Nobel Peace Prize. Now it is war, not peace, that is drawing attention to Ethiopia.

Thousands of civilians have been displaced since 4 November, when Mr Abiy ordered his military to strike forces in Tigray. Hundreds more are reported to have died, with reports of a civilian massacre.

With the communications largely cut in Tigray, the exact number of casualties is not clear.

The Ethiopian government has announced a six-month state of emergency in Tigray. A full-blown civil war could last far longer.

Thousands of people have been displaced by the conflict in Tigray.

Given the strength of Tigray’s security forces, the conflict could well be protracted,” International Crisis Group, a non-profit organisation, says. “Tigray has a large paramilitary force and a well-drilled local militia, thought to number perhaps 250,000 troops combined.”

As Africa’s second-most populous country, Ethiopia is pivotal to stability in the Horn of Africa. 

If the conflict intensifies, there are fears it could spill over into neighbouring countries. There have already been reports of missiles fired into Eritrea and 27,000 refugees fleeing to Sudan.

There is also a concern that the conflict could exacerbate ethnic tensions elsewhere in Ethiopia.

*

Prayer

I found this prayer on the website Jah-Rastafari.com…..

We give thanks to You,
Every soul and heart is lifted up to You,
Undisturbed name, honored with the name ‘God’ and praised with the name ‘Father’.

For to everyone and everything (comes) the fatherly kindness and affection and love, and any teaching there may be that is sweet and plain, giving us mind, speech, (and) knowledge: 

Mind, so that we may understand You, 
Speech, so that we may expound You, 
Knowledge, so that we may know You. 

We rejoice, having been illuminated by Your knowledge. 
We rejoice because You have shown us Yourself. 
We rejoice because while we were in (the) body, You have made us divine through Your knowledge. 

The thanksgiving of the man who attains to You is one thing: that we know You. 
We have known You, intellectual light. 
Life of life, we have known You. 
Womb of every creature, we have known You. 
Womb pregnant with the nature of the Father, we have known You. 

Eternal permanence of the begetting Father, thus have we worshiped Your goodness. 

There is one petition that we ask:
That we would be preserved in knowledge.
And there is one protection that we desire:
That we not stumble in this kind of life.

Blessings

*

Oh no….Lenny has just managed to be a liability again! My son has just come running into the room where I’m sat, Lenny has managed to get up onto a surface and steal some cooked rib bones….the ‘smash and grab’ dog strikes again. Not good for him! There are many things that can go wrong and make him ill. We’ve just fed him a couple of slices of bread to protect his stomach and my son is setting an alarm every hour to check him, just in case we need to take him to the vets. You will know, I suppose, whether he has managed to survive his bad behaviour if you see me tomorrow. If I’m not there it is because I am dealing with a naughty staffy and the consequences of his actions. If I am there, it means he has lived to continue his food thefts.

The winter tasks are still priority here….I think the next thing is to get the steering sorted on the farm vehicle. It’s amazing….it’s an all-surface, all-weather, go-anywhere sort of vehicle (that usually wears a whole jacket made of mud 😊) that we’ve had for over 10 years but suddenly the power steering on it has gone. I don’t think driving it like that on ice and snow would be any sort of fun. So, I need to get the iron fireplace and all the tiles out of it, get it to the garage and see if they can stick it back together for me. It’s the vehicle that I get all the animal feed and bales of sawdust for animal bedding so I need it back on the road as quickly as possible

Right, I’m going to need to email this to Pete so he can get it printed out. He keeps complaining that we seem to be running out of certain colours faster than ever….red, green and erm….gold!! Anyone got any ideas why?! 😊

Blessings,

Elizabeth