The End is Nigh
Today is the last senbete kristeeyan (Sunday) of the year. It is also the one year commemoration of my paternal grandmother falling asleep with the lord. Both, to me, are signs of “the coming of the glory of the lord,” as MLK famously said. She’s Isétegebriél according to the spirit, and Negede-Tsehay Agonafer Banteealeeyu according to the flesh, tété to me and other close family.
The Amharic she spoke to me had both Shewan particularities (harsh T where others would use a harsh S) and generational particularities (sidsa instead of silsa for sixty) that reflect a culture deeply lathered in scripture. When she last visited my home of Los Angeles, and I last visited her home of Adees Abeba (after Harer), she had two main scriptural texts she would quote from and point me toward as she helped me begin to read (aloud) my native tongue and the tongue behind by native tongue (ge’ez).
She emphasized the Psalms of David, which she won a seventh generation ancestor’s goatskin copy of by out-reciting her clerical cousins, and the Scroll of Job. I’ll reflect a little on the misbak (psalm selection) for today’s liturgy, and her favorite Job quote.
Our God shall come, and shall not keep silent; A fire shall devour before Him, (Psalm 50:3 NKJV)
the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord. (Job 1:21 KJV)
The psalm selection reminds us of the eminence of judgment. At any moment we can face calamity. At any moment we can be tested for the final time. Thus, we should critically think, speak, do, and tinker into holiness and perfection on a daily, hourly, and secondly basis. The liturgy adds another measure of time, the twinkling of an eye.
Job is not a Jew, and yet he is in the Hebrew Bible. That’s an amazing feat. Especially, when you consider his thespian scroll is forty-two chapters in length. Impressive. He is the quintessential and archetypal outsider, and yet, he recognizes the sole sovereignty of the lord god over the earth and the fullness thereof. Whether it’s people or property loss, all belong to the lord god. His attitude remains gratitude.
As we enter 2013 in the year of mercy, this forthcoming Friday, let us cast aside our 2012 carelessness and lack of gratitude, and enter a year of intentionality with our time and thanksgiving for every breath.