The title of this post refers to the Telugu word for "worship." It's also the title of a song the worship band played this morning, accompanied by Samuel Mande on a set of Indian drums that I can't remember the name of, and David Yalla singing the melody. "Aradhana" is a traditional Indian hymn sung by the Telugu people of India, and the lyrics are at left. A translation of these lyrics can be found at the bottom of this post.
Samuel informed me that in India they don't have traditional hymnbooks. Rather, they have printed lyrics, and the congregation is informed that they will sing the lyrics to a traditional tune that they are all familiar with. Rather than use the traditional melody, however, Samuel composed his own melody for the lyrics, and an intricate set of melodies for accompaniment by drums, guitars, bass, violin, and keyboards. Samuel said that he has always wanted to do a piece that combined Indian music, lyrics, and musical style with Western instruments. He did it, and I think it worked out very nicely.
Personally, as one of the instrumentalists, I found the piece challenging and a lot of fun to play, which is a testament to Samuel's musical abilities. David's voice matches perfectly what I perceive to be the style of Indian music. Have a listen.
What's especially cool about this presentation is that it came on the last Sunday of our "Values" series at Riverview. The series explored some of the main values that we as a community hold dear. The value we looked at in worship today was that of "life together," focusing especially on the diversity that exists within the Body of Christ. And with that diversity comes a diverse set of ways to express worship and praise to God. This was a fantastic expression of worship, and I believe that God was glorified by it. It was my pleasure to be a part of it.
Worship to you - abundant praises to you I offer, O Jesus
My Jesus, I offer you my everything
Even as the mighty army of the arch-angels worship you
With a thousand tongues I sing
Lo! I am a sinner and I plead you
To accept me and take me into your presence
Then your rays of love and compassion
have touched me and flowed through me
And all of my sin has been cleansed
And now I dedicate my life to you and sing praises