I have been thinking recently what ‘citizenship’ means. It was poetically and boldly called out in recently-renewed President Obama’s inauguration speech, and it gave me chills. I recently became a dual-citizen of the USA, and it really did have a profound impact on my life. Citizenship implies ownership in, a stake of, a firm identity-founding relationship to that place — very interesting implications.
The past week and a half have been extremely busy for me. Everyday, different things happen outside of the expected routine, and it has been a lot of fun. Last Friday evening into Saturday, Orthodox churches in Ethiopia celebrated “Timkat,” the holiday of the ‘Epiphany’ of Jesus Christ. They take a symbolic ‘ark’ out into the fields out of the city and worship and celebrate God overnight. Saturday morning they all come parading back into the middle of Addis Ababa, worshiping and celebrating, processing with the Ark carried by priests from each church. It is a truly amazing experience to see, and each church from each region has a different way of chanting and singing.
I had a fantastic time and was invited up to the front more than once to take photographs and share what was happening. It was a strange experience, sticking out so much (one of the only ‘farenj’ / foreigners, in a crowd of Ethiopians), but standing out had the added benefit of the invitations to come forward and understand more. I am well used to not fitting in by now, having lived in many foreign countries and several years in different parts of Africa, but in this case it had a great benefit.
After going home, nursing my sunburn (how could I forget that 8 hours in hot sun, even in the most temperate altitude of Addis, would greatly affect me), I went to my church and joined the team of worship leaders as a singer. It was incredibly welcoming of them to let me join, and I hope and pray I can serve well. More soon… for now checkout these photos from last week’s celebration!
|Church leaders singing and chanting on their way back into the city.|
|Groups have special dances and songs performed in a parade through the streets.|
|Priests stand before the ‘Ark’ held by the Priests in the red garb.|
|Timket is a grand celebration of all the Orthodox churches and many thousands come out to celebrate.|
|Celebrations and the parade can last for many hours right through the day.|
|Priests processing through Sarbet nieghborhood in south central Addis Ababa.|
Originally posted at: http://bonganiwalk.blogspot.com/2013/01/citizens.html.