Tuesday, September 8, 2015

The joy of salvation

Recently I heard a song sung at church which I had not heard before in my life. My impression is that it is one of those old-timey classic Romanian hymns, written sometime in the early or mid-20th century during times of intense persecution under the communists. The lyrics of the song describe the joy of a person who has been newly saved by Christ.

Bucurie mare ce mi-a dat Isus,
Primul ghiocel din mâna lui adus,
Prima zi cu soare, soare-adevărat,
A fost ziua când mi-a spus că m-a iertat.

The great joy which Jesus gave me,
The first snowdrop brought by his hand,
The first day of sunlight, of true sunlight
Was the day in which he told me he forgave me.

(Not having been raised in Romania myself, I am not totally familiar with the custom of giving snowdrops at some point in early spring after the snow melts and they bloom. In any case, that's the culture there, and that's the reference of the second line.)

The day of salvation is the first day with true sunlight in the poet's life. The newest and most profound joy of having come to know God, and in the words of a later verse, of a new spirit having been born anew within him, are what characterize his life now. And yet this newfound joy cannot be contained and enjoyed alone, for the last verse reads:

Ultima dorinîă ce o am de spus
E să vină toată lumea la Isus,
Și când el ne-aduce sus la Dumnezeu
Vai să nu rămână nimeni, dar nici eu.

The final desire I have to express
Is that all the world should come to Jesus Christ.
And when we will take us up to God,
May no one be left behind, and not I, either.

I don't know very many songs or hymns which express a kind of universalist hope for the salvation of the whole world, but this is one of them. It is a song I have only ever heard once, but it was very beautiful and the lyrics -- despite the impression my poor, rigid translation would give you -- are quite beautiful.

The joy of salvation can't be contained and enjoyed alone: when you've come across a good thing, you want to share it with everyone else, too.

No comments: