Baba Yetu

I really only ever play one video game, Civilization IV. This is in part because when I was in high school I used to play Civilization (the first one) off a floppy disk on the school’s computers. We figured out how to work around the old computer’s boot sequence to be able to get a DOS prompt and CIV I was able to be played entirely from a floppy disk.

CIV IV was released while I was on my second deployment to Iraq. To me, it was the perfect improvement from Civilization III. I’ve tried the newer versions of the game but they didn’t allow me to play the way I liked to (for me it’s mostly about colonizing the land) and because of this they weren’t fun.

CIV IV starts with an epic song, Baba Yetu. It wasn’t until I started listening to streaming music services that I realized I could try to download the song and add it to my playlist. I personally think video game music has been overlooked by the industry despite the fact that it’s been terribly good at working with system limitations throughout it’s evolution. Who doesn’t like Lindsey Stirling’s Zelda Duet?

While I enjoyed the song Baba Yetu it was in a language I didn’t know and so understanding the lyrics were beyond me. I had the same feelings about Beethoven’s 9th which I knew had powerful words, but prior to the internet getting a translation was rather difficult.

Eventually I got around to googling Baba Yetu and what it means. I was pleasantly surprised to find the song was a translation of the Lord’s Prayer in Swahili–and it was beautiful.

SwahiliEnglish
Baba yetu, yetu uliye
Mbinguni yetu, yetu amina!
Baba yetu yetu uliye
M Jina lako e litukuzwe.Utupe leo chakula chetu
Tunachohitaji, utusamehe
Makosa yetu, hey!
Kama nasi tunavyowasamehe
Waliotukosea usitutie
Katika majaribu, lakini
Utuokoe, na yule, muovu e milele!Ufalme wako ufike utakalo
Lifanyike duniani kama mbinguni.
(Amina)
Our Father, who art
in Heaven. Amen!
Our Father,
Hallowed be thy name.Give us this day our daily bread,
Forgive us of
our trespasses,
As we forgive others
Who trespass against us
Lead us not into temptation, but
deliver us from the evil one forever. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done
On Earth as it is in Heaven.
(Amen)

Some time later the song got the attention of a couple of prominent vocal artists on YouTube, Peter Hollins and Alex Boyé. Alex Boyé has long been admired by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and so when at an event this year to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Priesthood of God being bestowed based upon worthiness happened early this year, I was pleased to see Alex’s rendition of the song added to the celebration’s program. It’s a powerful rendition. It’s a powerful song. It’s based on a powerful prayer. All because a video game needed a good intro.

Joy to the World is NOT a Christmas Song

img_20141223_144803This is one of those posts that gets me labeled as the crazy relative at family gatherings.  Yes, I’m that guy.  Sometimes at church we discuss talents and when we do I get to share that I have the ability to take any normal conversation and make it awkward faster than anyone else.  It’s not a talent I’m proud of per-se, but it’s one I’ve come to live with.

So, this is one of those things.  Joy to the World is a wonderful song, but it is not a Christmas song.  People who sing it at Christmas time are woefully ignorant of what century they live in and are singing about.

Jesus Once of Humble Birth shows the contrast of Christ’s comings.  The first one was under very humble circumstances.  The second will be in his glory.  Which one does Joy to the World speak of?  Let’s take a look at Jesus Once of Humble Birth:

1. Jesus, once of humble birth,
Now in glory comes to earth.
Once he suffered grief and pain;
Now he comes on earth to reign.
Now he comes on earth to reign.
2. Once a meek and lowly Lamb,
Now the Lord, the great I Am.
Once upon the cross he bowed;
Now his chariot is the cloud.
Now his chariot is the cloud.
3. Once he groaned in blood and tears;
Now in glory he appears.
Once rejected by his own,
Now their King he shall be known.
Now their King he shall be known.
4. Once forsaken, left alone,
Now exalted to a throne.
Once all things he meekly bore,
But he now will bear no more.
But he now will bear no more.
Again, this hymn shows the contrast between Christ’s arrival for his mortal ministry and his second coming.  Let’s see which even Joy to the World speaks of (based on the lyrics):
1. Joy to the world, the Lord is come;
Let earth receive her King!
Let ev’ry heart prepare him room,
And Saints and angels sing,
And Saints and angels sing,
And Saints, and Saints and angels sing.
2. Rejoice! Rejoice when Jesus reigns,
And Saints their songs employ,
While fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat, repeat the sounding joy.
3. No more will sin and sorrow grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He’ll come and make the blessings flow
Far as the curse was found,
Far as the curse was found,
Far as, far as the curse was found.
4. Rejoice! Rejoice in the Most High,
While Israel spreads abroad
Like stars that glitter in the sky,
And ever worship God,
And ever worship God,
And ever, and ever worship God.
Ok, Sir Isaac Watts.  What were you writing about here?  If verse 3 wasn’t the clincher, I don’t know what is.  We’ve definitely got sin and sorrow now, but we wont at the second coming.  If you think this is a Christmas song.  You’re wrong.
img_1525_31368Now, if you’re feeling sad because you’ve been doing it wrong don’t worry.  You’re in good company.  I’m right along there with you.  I love this song, especially around the holidays.
But, if I’m not good enough company for you to feel comforted then I’ve got another bit of news for you.  There’s a lot of people who are wrong about this song with us.  According to Wikipedia it’s the most published Christmas song in the world.  That’s a lot of people being wrong together.
So, enjoy singing the world’s most popular second coming song during the part of the year when we celebrate Christ’s birth.
Being wrong about what you’re singing and when might just be another sign that we all need to repent and that can use the Savior in our lives.