Christ and Tafari
by Norman Redington
The following remarks are from the perspective of the Orthodox Christian wing of the Rastafari movement and are not intended to show any disrespect for those brethren who view His Majesty differently (e.g. the Twelve Tribes).
When Ras Tafari became emperor of Ethiopia, he also became the Protector of the Bete Kristyan, the Ethiopian Orthodox Christian Church. Throughout his long reign he strove zealously to spread the message of Orthodoxy, the ancient and original form of Christianity, into all the nations of the world. For this reason, the enemy besieged him with difficulties and temptations, and three times sought to drive him from his imperial throne. In the end, though, His Majesty triumphed over the enemy through the strength which is signified by his Orthodox baptismal name HAILE SELASSIE, Might of the Trinity.
His was a victory not of this world which passes away, and in which he would seem to have lost — his throne, his power, his dreams, his life. It was a victory of the Enduring World to which we will all someday be repatriated, the Real World where the Only Lord of Reality sits on His everlasting throne.
In that world the righteous emperor now dwells, and there he intercedes before the Qedduse Selassie, the Three-and-One, by Whose unimaginable Power (Haile) he had reigned and Whom he had humbly striven all his earthly life to serve. Yes, there before the Throne of JAH the emperor intercedes for all the suffering poor, of Africa and Jamaica, the USA and the UK and every land of this suffering world. From there too he fights for us, fires his machine-gun of prayer at demons and fallen watchers, slashes through human ignorance with the cavalry-sabre of the Word.
We know that he does this because some who are not liars have beheld him in that world, reflecting the Sun in its power and glory. It is not to be wondered at that certain ones who saw this mistook the reflection for the Sun itself. A monk of the Holy Mountain beheld Saint Paisius seated upon a throne in the heavenly mansions and was unable to endure the radiance of his face. Sure he was standing before God, the monk fell down to worship, but the angels corrected him: “No, this is only one of God’s humble servants, and for this glory you also were created.”
Thus stands our defender the emperor Haile Selassie, king and martyr, entirely transfigured by the deifying Light of JAH. Some who have seen him have overstood, whether quickly slowly. They too have taken up the Cross which the most noble emperor wore; they too have loved Him the most noble emperor loved; they too have followed Him the most noble emperor called God, joining themselves to the One Orthodox Church which is from end to end of the universe.
Through their prayers and his may I who am unworthy and ignorant nonetheless chant a sound here each week of the next twelve, and may all who read these words awaken to the wordsoundpower which is the Reason for reggae music.