Posts Tagged ‘worship’

Duma adinc, adinc

Mai adinc in tine…..

It was the early 1980’s. Romania was still under the despotic dictatorship of Nicolae Ceaușescu. Folks from Medias Baptist Church had been reading my colleague Don’s books and listening to my music and, through their links with Gary Cox of Christian Charity TEN** (then Eurovangelism), had asked if we would visit and spend some time of ministry with them.

We lasted for just three days, before we were summoned to the local government building, where it was made clear to us in no uncertain terms that we were not welcome and were to be expelled from the country. On taking the next available flight home, I was detained at the airport and questioned extensively about my trip, although thankfully was not put in a position where I would “incriminate” any local nationals 🙂

Prior to these escapades though, we had had such a good time with the church and their leaders. The song story comes in at the point where, with the help of Ben, one of the leaders, we had translated the song into Romanian.  The previous couple of days I had sung some of my songs in English after explaining the content through an interpreter.  On this occasion though, after singing Take Me Deep in English, I went straight into the Romanian version, not having said beforehand that I was going to do this.  I think it’s fair to say that there was hardly a dry eye in the place!

Now it should be explained that, although the leaders were looking to explore new things, this had been quite a traditional Romanian church, (ladies sat on one side of the aisle, men to the other, etc.). They had a custom of singing a particular song as their benediction at the end of each service: on this occasion the organist began playing Take Me Deep at the close of the service and people began spontaneously to sing along.  This was the day before we were “asked” to leave and the last time we would see folks; (we were blacklisted by the authorities and unable to obtain visas for some years afterwards).

However, the song was to remain in their hearts and I was to learn later that they had now adopted Take Me Deep as their regular benediction song. And so it was that a song I’d written earlier in the year for a festival called “Deeper Life Camp”, would for me become forever associated with my time in Medias.

**TEN – Transform Europe Now – www.transformeuropenow.org,  an excellent charity with whom I am privileged to be associated to this day.

Listen to and/or download Take Me Deep at … http://www.robnewey.bandcamp.com/track/take-me-deep

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In a recent “worship time” (I do wish we would change the ways we describe some aspects of what we do when we meet together!) we were singing a song that has the lyric “To the widow and the orphan, Let the river of Your justice flow through us”

It’s a good, thoughtful song; but I couldn’t help but begin to think how easy it is to sing about some subjects without giving thought as to what they might imply in our contemporary western context.  Of course, NT scripture makes several references to caring for widows and orphans and, although I’m no expert on this, I’m guessing that widowhood was more common in those times as girls would be married to older men who died whilst their wives were still comparatively young.  There would have been no insurance coverage or benefits system and probably little opportunity for the widow to earn an income for herself, unlike today.  Similarly, excepting tragedy, we are not so often likely to see children orphaned in our modern society (again I’m referring to our own society rather than situations we may find elsewhere)

How easy it is to romanticise the idea of caring for “the widow and the orphan” when expressing the thought through the poetry of a “worship song” (see what I did with the quote marks again there?!)  What would the song sound like if we were to contextualise it for our own town or culture?  Somehow, though, singing the line “To the single mums, those struggling on benefits, and the homeless…” (insert your own thoughts there) wouldn’t sound quite as neat – maybe we’d even find it embarrassing to sing such words, even if they did scan with the verse 

Clearly the church has a responsibility to show justice and bring aid and kindness to all who are broken (including those who have lost loved ones) but this is no romantic, mystical notion.  Yes, our emotions should be stirred, but the outworking must surely be practical and immediate.  That’s why we read in Acts 6 that seven people were specifically appointed to deal with food distribution with the specific task of making sure that the widows (again insert a contemporary context here) were not overlooked.   Presumably some kind of funding must have been made available for this as well?

Food for thought?

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