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Friday, 24 August 2012


Languages can be fascinating - especially the translations from one language into another.  This, I have found, is very true with regard to Christian songs, many of which are translated from the English language into others.

My first experience of the difference this can make was many years ago, in Germany.  I was attending a Christian Conference in Weinstadt, near to Stuttgart.  One of the songs that was in vogue at the time was "In the Name of Jesus".  In the English language version, the final two lines are "In the mighty Name of Jesus, we have the victory."  However, a direct translation of the last line would have been "haben wir Seig" - which was two syllables short for the music!  Someone was inspired to add one word - "haben wir ganzer Seig" - which now transpates as "we have the complete/total victory."!

I was reminded of Paul's words in  Romans 8:37: "In all these things we are more than conquerors—through Him who loved us!"  To be more than conquerors is to be triumphant conquerors, not merely getting through the battle or the trouble—but coming out of it with rejoicing, with song and gladness. The Greman language certainly adds something worthwhile to the concept of victorious Christian living!   We have a victory, in Christ Jesus, that leaves nothing out!

Just over a week ago, my wife and I attended a wedding here in France. It was the religious service for a lovely Christian couple (the civil ceremony, as is the norm in many countries, was a separate affair, held on the previous day).  One of the songs that was sung was Brian Doerksen's "Arms of Love".  In the middle, are these words: "My heart is glad That you've called me Your own" - very meaningful to any disciple of Jesus.  However, in order to fit the melody, the French language version reads: "Tu m'as donné Ton Nom" - which translates as "You have given me Your Name".

I once had a dog.  I called it my own.  It belonged to me, and I was responsible for its general welfare.  It expressed its gratitude to me in many different ways, and I was very fond of that animal.  Its name was Zara.  

I have a wife.  She's my wife - to the exclusion of all others.  I call her "my wee wife".   She 'belongs' to me and, as her husband, I am responsible for her general welfare- for better, for worse; for richer, for poorer; in sickness and in health - as I promised almost forty-two years ago.  She expresses her love for me in many different ways, and I love her dearly.   I also gave her my name.  My doing so, and her accepting it were, and are, a special sign of our union with one another, until God shall separate us by death.

Do you understand the difference?  I am so glad that the Lord Jesus is willing to call me His own.  I am so happy to belong to Him; to experience His care and provision; to know that He loves me.  But the French-language version of that song has reminded me that He has done even more - He has given me His Name.  I am not just a favoured pet; I'm an integral part of the Bride of Christ, His Church.

What about you?  Do you belong to Him?  Have you taken His Name?  I trust that your answers are in the affirmative!

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