An Ethiopian Mennonite shares the pulpit
Poetryby Katerina Friesen
Hailu preaches and we tune
our vision toward him, turn
our palms to heaven.
We hear an echo of jail hymns,
"I want to know Christ
and the fellowship of sharing."
He recalls trial like a man
talks of his childhood: confident,
changed and strangely—wistful.
To the suburbs, the whites
of his eyes are like Ethiopian saints',
holy and large.
We have our martyrs, too, submerged
under stones and ropes and frozen baptisms.
I think of the Esaus, Penners,
the Reimers, homes an open cell,
men dragged off one by one,
where stifle was worse than scream.
"My testimony is no different,"
Hailu says. "No Christian pastor
escaped the communist hold."
I remember my ancestors in Russia,
who after barely escaping sainthood,
picked California grapes, fed
and raised their quiet children,
who somehow forgot
how to talk about crying.
Hailu leans into the pulpit,
clutches the unyielding
wood, he is a dark tree
and warns, "If you truly follow Jesus,
the land of democracy will persecute you."
Our limp hands lie,
some open, signs of grace,
others folded, already blessed.
Our overflowing carts await.
Hailu closes his eyes.
"Are you willing to suffer?"
We nod, we know and think we know,
but we do not applaud.
Katerina Friesen lives in Mariposa, Calif.
- The push and pull of faith
- Supper club, Keith Wilson and the twigs of grace
- Young adults: We stand amazed in their presence
- Suffering in the dark night
- Meditating on the run
- An Ethiopian Mennonite shares the pulpit
- Revealing prayers
- Praying for my kids
News stories, digests and Meno Acontecer
- Mennonite health care providers and 'Googlies'
- News update: Franconia Conference dismisses staff
- Michael King named new dean of EMS
- Conference affirms teachings on sexuality
- Executive Board considers conflict needs
- WEB EXCLUSIVE: I am making peace with the national anthem
- What it takes to be an 'environmental wacko'
- MC USA consultant suggests sweeping changes
- Mennonite educators encouraged to help students 'step out of boat'
- Chinese church grows tenfold after earthquake
- Denominational ministry team organizes
- News briefs - February, 2010
- What's next for African-American Mennonites?
- Mennonite army major a misnomer
- Peter Dyck leaves legacy of service
- Children work alongside Mennonite youth
- Mennonite Olympian has a heart of gold
- MEDA sees peace dividend in youth program
- ¡Bienvenidos al Meno Acontecer de Marzo, 2010!
- Educación Menonita para nuestros jóvenes
- IBA entrena tutores en Harrisonburg, VA
- Los Tutores de IBA se reunieron en Aibonito, PR
- La Junta de Directores de MEA se reúne
- Ya viene el censo ¡Hágase contar!
- Historia Misional en Argentina
- Una meditación bíblica ...
- De nuestros lectores y colaboradores - 2ª parte
- A pastor's plan
- Hearts broken and exalted
- Becoming e-families but not bodies in vats
- First things first
- Buying stuff for your avatar
- Almost Mennonite
- The young adult effect
- Thinking clearly about abortion, again
- How to read the Bible
- A seventh membership change
- Another membership change
- Could join a Baptist church
- War and abortion both violence
- Learned two things
- Appreciation for Shenk
- Peace through tourism?
- Jordan no oasis of peace
- Christmas economics
- A gripe