October 1, 2016, angels were heard blowing trumpets above the clouds. Feathery clouds formed a circle above the centre of Israel’s desert city. The sound of the trumpets was so clear and echoed around the city that anyone could tell it wasn’t anything of this world. It had certain grace. Its hard to recall what exactly I was feeling when I was watching the video, but I felt something different.
Today again I heard the same trumpets and I recognised it instantly as I felt the same feeling of being submitted to something so much bigger than I am. But this time round, this feeling didn’t stop with the trumpets, it continued through the hymns that were being magically sung.
A few months back I was surfing the web to know more about icons and iconography, and one of the things I found about the Holy Icon of the Theotokos holding Her Son was that the icon slowly drives the venerator from the purity, innocence and grace of the Theotokos to Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ through Her hand. The venerator first looks at her, and is then led by Her hands that held Her son to the humility of the child image of Our Lord. Just as the icon, the hymns felt like they were leading me, and anyone watching, high up into the clouds where the Throne of the Almighty is.
Today I heard the trumpets miles away from the Israeli sky. Today angels were not in the skies behind the clouds. Today angels were blowing those heavenly trumpets full of frightening grace in Ethiopia, during the celebration of Paraclitus, the 50th day of the Pentecost. The sound of the trumpets and the devoutness of the faithful took me above the clouds to the reflection of my heaven. My heaven that I had imagined and sewed from bits and pieces of what this world had and was deprived off. But as I saw what heaven truly is like, I tore my imagination back to the bits and pieces I had been sewing together all these years. I saw heaven.
Think about this for a second. Forget what you’ve been holding onto as paradise for a while. What if heaven was different? What if heaven was completely out of this world? Heaven is unimaginable anyways right? What if heaven was not of just people with white robes, and wings that have feathers for pens? What if there’s no harp that we see in the movies with posh evening parties that sound like this worlds definition of soothing music? What if angels don’t have blond or brunette, straight, long hairs? What if heaven was Ethiopians praising God, with harps of 10 strings, and drums that take the soul up to the skies and back along with the beats? What if heaven was Ethiopians conducting mass peacefully? what if heaven was Ethiopians celebrating here on earth but their souls lifted up with angels? What if heaven was the devout Ethiopians? What if heaven was the devout Ethiopians praising their Lord freely? Without sheep-skinned goats misleading them. Without false shepherds driving them to wrong grazing lands, without trying to limit their prayers, cut down their masses, burn their praying books, burn their monasteries, burn their monks alive, burn everything into ashes. What if heaven was Ethiopians conducting mass without the church being torn apart and bulldozed in front of them? Without the church land being shared among pigs that are always hungry for money. Without their history miss told and hidden or misinterpreted irreligiously?
What if heaven was Ethiopia minus the hungry government, minus the destruction hungry officials, minus the hungry for blood satanists? What if heaven was Ethiopians blowing their trumpets together with the angels without clubs turning up their music louder? Where priests remained priests even through the night, and the lands given to the beer factories returned back to the church along with our brothers and sisters taken from us through TVs given to praise with us. What if heaven was all of us Ethiopians not only wearing white but yellow robes and yellow headdresses immensely glorifying God, His Saints and angels, side to side in the native language of heaven, Ge’ez. What if heaven was the Green Ethiopia with miraculous trees and leaves minus the dense jungle of pure concrete?
What if Ethiopia was heaven? Untouched and raw, her forest un-deforested, her monasteries un-burned, her books not stolen, her leaders un-misled for money, no government hungry for money. What if heaven was indeed Ethiopia? What if I told you heaven is really Ethiopia?
Although nothing is comparable to the Theotokos’ holy hands, the celebration led me above the clouds where the angels first blew the trumpets, but the gate keeper said the angels were all in Ethiopia celebrating the 50th day of the Pentecost and sadly no one was available to show me around. I asked when I could come back but he said that they’ll probably be there even if I came back again, he said some of them actually lived there. So I came down to see the angels and the Ethiopians blowing their trumpets, taking souls up only to bring them back here again.