13 April, 2014

A Sunday morning mystery

Again, not a great photo. But this was the front of our church
this morning a few minutes before the pews filled.
I rarely write about church here. Not sure why. Perhaps because I'm ashamed at my poor Japanese.

We go to an independent Japanese church. The service is in Japanese, but is simultaneously translated into English for those who want it (and they use earphones). 

The worship is mostly in Japanese, though some of the slides include either alternative words in English or a translation.

After living nearly 12 years in Japan, I still can't explain very well what it's like to worship in a language I don't understand well. It isn't meaningless. In fact, it can be very  meaningful, but in a deep way that is not easy to articulate. Certainly different to being in a worship service where I understand everything that is said.

Today we closed the service with a song that's been translated into Japanese from English: Above All by Michael W. Smith. I sang in Japanese along with the majority of the congregation, and understood some of the words, but in the back of my mind was the English that I understood very well. Strange bi-lingual worship that somehow seemed doubly meaningful? 

Because, of course, a song translated isn't exactly the same song. It seems that generally it takes more syllables to say the same thing in Japanese, so often less concepts are included in a translated song than in the original. And often the concepts are slightly different, so you get a different slant in meaning. Does that make sense? Like reading the Bible in different English translations can make a passage more meaningful.

Here are the English lyrics of the song:

Above all powers, above all kings
Above all nature and all created things
Above all wisdom and all the ways of man
You were here, before the world began

Above all kingdoms, above all thrones
Above all wonders the world has ever known
Above all wealth and treasures of the earth
There's no way to measure what you're worth

Crucified, laid behind a stone
You lived to die, rejected and alone
Like a rose, trampled on the ground
You took the fall and thought of me
Above all

English video here:

Japanese video here: 

I am looking forward to coming back to Australia and enjoying worshipping in English every Sunday, but after nearly 12 years here, there is a unmeasurable, inarticulate part of me that loves to worship my Lord in Japanese. In fact the odd occasion that I do get to worship in Japanese in Australia will often find me in tears!

1 comment:

Christian Simple said...

I really enjoy reading and watching those videos. Thanks for sharing them. God Bless! tfi the family international