tend your sick ones, O Lord Christ Jesus our only Lord and Saviour beloved and only Son of the living God O Holy Father Almighty in the unity and power of your Holy Spirit our Paraclete O welcome Comforter;
rest your weary ones;
bless your dying ones;
soothe your suffering ones;
pity your afflicted ones;
shield your joyous ones;
and all for your love’s sake;
and have us do the same for the sake of your most holy name baruch Adonai Yahweh tsidkenou our only righteousness unceasingly in the humble joy of your willing servants.
Fiery creator of fire,
light giver of light,
life and author of life,
salvation and bestower of salvation,
in case the lamps should abandon
the joys of this night,
you who do not desire our death,
give light to our breast.
to those wandering from Egypt,
you bestow the double grace,
you show the veil of cloud,
and give the nocturnal light.
with a pillar of cloud in the day,
you protect the people as they go,
with a pillar of fire at evening,
you dispel the night with light.
You call out to your servant from the flame,
you do not spurn the bush of thorns,
and though you are consuming fire,
you do not burn what you illumine.
Now it is time that the cloudy bee-bread
should be consumed, all impurity boiled away, and the waxen flesh should shine
with the glow of the Holy Spirit.
You store now in the recesses of the comb the sweet food of the divine honey,
and purifying the inmost cells of the heart,
you have filled them with your word;
that the swarm of the new brood,
chosen by your mouth and spirit,
may leave their burdens and win heaven
on wings now free from care.
May your holy angels, O Christ Jesus, Son of the living God,
tend our sleep, our rest, our bright bed.
Let them reveal true visions to us in our sleep, O high prince of the universe, O great and mysterious king.
May no devils, no demons, no spirits of sorcery or magic, no evil spirits of any sort visible or invisible, no injury or terrifying dreams disturb our rest, our prompt and swift repose.
May our waking, our work, and our living be holy; our sleep, our rest, without hindrance or harm.
O Holy Lord God of creation, we invoke you. You are our gracious counselor. Do you turn your face toward our enemies, for you are our judgement without betrayal.
You are our king. You are our law. Yours are our spirits, souls, bodies, we love you, blessed Christ Jesus, for our spirits, souls, bodies are yours tonight, tomorrow and at all times unceasingly and now and unto the endless ages of ages to come.
O Holy King. keep us in your royal dwelling all our days. Eating the feast from your table. Keep us in you,
O Holy Jesus,
midday sun adorned,
brilliant flame of righteousness, life everlasting and eternity,
fountain ever-new, ever-living, ever-lasting,
heart’s desire of patriarchs, especially St. Enoch in the flesh,
longing of prophets, especially St. Elijah in the flesh, with St. Enoch, your holy prophets yet to return,
beloved master of St. Michael and St. Gabriel, your loyal warriors, holy archangels,
master of apostles and disciples,
giver of the law,
prince of the new testament,
Saviour of the saved,
Judge of doom,
Son of the merciful Father without mother in heaven,
Son of the true virgin Mary, without father on earth,
true and loving brother,
keep us in you O holy God at all times unceasingly and now and unto the endless ages of ages to come,
blessed virgin who bore God and took care of him with tender love,
bright, with goodness full,
Mary miracle, the lion’s precious love,
virgin once, mother of Christ Jesus our Lord and Saviour, and virgin still, all ye elect angels and saints of God, the same, pray for and with us unceasingly, baruch Adonai Yahweh Elohim olam eth Abba our Father and the Son Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour and the Holy Spirit our Paraclete deliver us unceasingly with and by the prayer and company of all your elect angels and saints for and with us unceasingly and now and always and unto the endless ages of ages to come.
The healthy infant boy's top teeth came in before his bottom teeth. For this, elders of the Kara tribe in Ethiopia's primitive Omo River region determined that the child must die.
The child was mingi—"cursed" according to superstition. With every breath, the elders believed, the boy was beckoning an evil spirit into their village. It was the sacrifice of one child for the good of the entire tribe, a rite that elders had witnessed for untold generations.
Less clear was what to do about the boy's dead twin. After some debate and an examination of goat intestines, the elders decided the dead twin must have been mingi too. They dug up the corpse, bound it to the living boy, paddled a canoe into the center of the swiftly moving Omo River, and threw them both into the cold, brown waters.
That was five years ago. Several years ago, regional officials had begun taking action—threatening prison for those complicit in mingi killings. But at best, officials are equipped to step in only after a child has been murdered. So, in the villages of southern Ethiopia, a region the size of Texas with few roads or infrastructure, a few concerned tribespeople started an orphanage for cursed children. Yet the orphanage is mired in controversy, and meanwhile, few have challenged the underlying fear of mingi.
But one small band of Christians in one tribe, along with other supportive Christians, has pledged to protect these cursed children until mingi is no more. They are determined to show tribal elders that there is something "stronger than mingi"—the power of Jesus Christ. Earlier this year, I traveled to the hard-to-reach Ethiopian river valley to hear their story.Modern-Day Child Sacrifice
Bona Shapo, a tribal elder, took me to where mingi children are being sacrificed. He steered his dugout canoe through the crocodile-infested waters of the Omo River, guiding the craft beneath a crumbling precipice near the stick-and-thatch village of Korcho. Across the river, Colobus monkeys whooped and howled, stirring Marabou storks from their perches on a stand of acacia.
"This is where they do it," says Bona, who had stood on these muddy banks the day the boys were thrown into the river.
There has been little modern research on mingi. Elders single out for death children who are born out of wedlock, have damaged genitals, or whose top baby teeth emerge before the bottom ones. Kara elders believe keeping this traditional practice is crucial to tribal survival. Allowing a mingi child to live among their people, they fear, will cause the rains to cease and the sun to grow hotter.
"If they have mingi, there will be no water, no food, no cattle," Bona says. "But when they throw the baby away, everything is good again. So yes, it is sad, but we are thinking about the village, the family, all the people."
Tribal parents tolerate the killing. After Erma Ayeli gave birth, elders took her newborn. She was not permitted to nurse him, hold him, or see him. "I think he must have been a beautiful boy," she says. "I wanted to keep him."
Her chin sinks into the colorful beads draped around her neck. Erma still grieves over her son's death—but she does not question it. "There was no other option," she says.
Sex outside of marriage is acceptable among the Kara. But if a woman becomes pregnant before participating in a marriage ceremony, as Erma did, her child is considered kumbaso—a mingi curse that occurs when parents fail to perform the appropriate rites before conceiving.