Processing into church with the Gospel being read in Likɔɔnl

On November 1, a week ago today, the New Testament in Likɔɔnl (the Komba language) was launched! Pastor Phil Cook from Lamb of God Lutheran church was there and his idea was to process into service today with the Gospel lesson for today being read over the sound system. What a great idea to honor our brothers and sisters in Christ who are rejoicing that God has opened the door to their language as an official carrier of Scripture for the church!  Here is the audio version of Mat. 25:1-13.

You can also download a written copy of Matiu 25 1-13 in Komba here.

More Lectionary resources for you in Likɔɔnl (Komba)

If you are following the lectionary readings for the Sundays following the launching of the New Testament in Likɔɔnl (a.k.a – Komba) November 2 or November 9, perhaps you’d like to hear how some verses sound in the latest Bible to be dedicated in the Christian church on earth – that is the Likɔɔnl language of Ghana. Find Matthew 23:11-12 recorded here:

In these verses, Jesus tells his disciples that the greatest among them will be the one who is the servant among them. The Likɔɔnl (Komba) translation actually hints that the greatest servant is none other than Jesus himself! Click Matiu 23:11-12 for the printed text.

In Matthew 25:13 , Jesus gives his hearers a warning, to stay awake – or to watch ourselves, because we do not know the day or the hour of the bridegroom’s arrival!

Click  Matiu 25:13 for the printed text.

Stand in solidarity with your brothers and sisters in Christ who are celebrating the launching of the printed Bible in their own language. Let us know how you are celebrating through a comment or a message. Like us on the project facebook page here.

Resources for hearing and celebrating that God speaks Likɔɔnl (Komba)

“God has always spoken Likɔɔnl, we are celebrating that we are hearing his voice.”- paraphrasing the late Dr. Kwame Bediako.

How are you and your church celebrating that the body of Christ is hearing God’s voice through the New Testament dedication in the Likɔɔnl language on November 1st? Here are 3 documents you can use as bulletin inserts or as personal prayer material. The Komba Translation Timeline provides a history of some of the events that have led to this dedication.  Also I am including descriptions of the KOLIBITRAP Translators and Mr. Elijah Matibin, Project Coordinator. These people have done the lion’s share of the work in translating.

You may also like to listen to what the text sounds like read aloud:

Here are written texts of these two readings in case you want to try reading along! (In English: John 7:37-39, and Acts 2:1-21; and here in Likɔɔnl: Jɔnn 7:37-39; Litoonl 2.1-21)

Finally here is a prayer you may wish to offer written by my grandfather, the Rev. Arthur Schultz here.

A Bible dedication coming soon to a language near you…

The New Testament in Likɔɔnl is going to be dedicated on November 1 in Gbintiri, Ghana. It may not be geographically close to everyone reading this blog, but it is humanly close, as part of the world’s languages, and especially close if you are a Christian brother or sister to the Komba people.

The Official Lutheran Bible Translators blog posted a short summary of the Komba project from David Federwitz’s perspective here.

Prayer for Pentecost

As an addition to my post about celebrating Pentecost multilingually, I asked my grandfather, Reverend Arthur Schultz, if he might write a collect, that is a prayer, for churches and individuals who would like to remember Bible translation work this year on Pentecost Sunday, especially for those of us preparing for the dedication of the New Testament in Likɔɔnl coming up later this year.

Here it is for your edification…

O wondrous God and Lord, You are worthy of our greatest praise and worship. We are in awe of You for You are the God who speaks.

You spoke and the earth came into being. By Your Spirit You spoke through Your prophets, and people were called to repentance, to faith, and to obedience. Through Your apostles You spoke the Good News of the kingdom, and each person heard in his own mother tongue. In these, our days, You speak through all who are willing to tell of the things they have seen and heard of the Gospel. You speak through preachers, teachers, translators, and missionaries.

Today we ask You to send Your Holy Spirit into our hearts so that more and more of us are willing to be instruments of Your speaking the Gospel in the world. Help us to do that by our own witness, by our prayers, and  by our financial support.

We ask Your rich blessing on Lutheran Bible Translators that it may become evermore a greater and stronger tool of Your voice in this world. Move more and more believers to be ready to go to work at providing the Word in the heart languages of greater numbers of people and nations.

Lord, You have spoken to us today. Make us ready to speak for You. Amen.

Resources to celebrate Pentecost multilingually

I know we are just into the second Sunday of Easter, but consider this post as preparation for the third great festival of the church coming up in just over a month.

tongues of fireHow many languages were heard on the day of Pentecost as recounted in the book of Acts? A lot. God’s Spirit-Wind blows breath through human voices speaking the Gospel in new languages. Would you like to hear one more language in your Pentecost experience this year (coming up June 8th)? For the first time later this year, the Likɔɔnl language will dedicate its first printed New Testament. Now that is a fresh wind! Here are some Scripture readings for Pentecost in Likɔɔnl (Komba) translated orally into English (for those who have English hearing ears). Churches may want to include one or both of these readings to celebrate Pentecost Sunday.

Here is a written text of these two readings in case you want to try reading along! (In English: John 7:37-39, and Acts 2:1-21; and here in Likɔɔnl: Jɔnn 7:37-39; Litoonl 2.1-21)

In previous posts, I suggested that it would be good for English speaking churches to “do without’  Scripture readings in their own familiar language from time to time and to hear the Bible read in another language and then translated into English. See the “As we do without document” for ideas.

What about celebrating Pentecost multilingually this year?

as we do without…we discover that God….

Here are a few thoughts related to my earlier post about what God might do with us as we do without Scripture in our own language for a Sunday..

As we do without document

I intend this attachment to be a visual clue (like a bulletin insert or a poster) for a church who is practicing what it would be like to hear Scripture mediated through another language rather than cleanly translated into English. This could be done by back translating from Likɔɔnl, Greek, Hebrew, Chinese, Farsi (whatever language) into English. In my previous post, I posted some resources for doing this in the Likɔɔnl language.

Taking up something for Lent

I have been doing some work in the book of Ruth which has also taken me into the cultural context of the Ancient Near East. I came across “a festival”, for lack of a better phrase, of mourning in the Sumerian and Babylonian cultures.  There are similar observances of a period of mourning, observed in the culture of Israel as described in Judges 11:40 and mentioned negatively in Ezekiel 8:14.

That got me to thinking about a festival of mourning.  And I thought that sounded pretty odd, and yet in some ways a season of Repentance like Lent is not all that far off from an annual time of mourning. Continue reading Taking up something for Lent

A Lenten preparation for an African Bible: doing without Scripture in our own language

What are you giving up for Lent, which begins this year on Ash Wednesday March 5?  Why would someone limit their freedom and “give something up” for Lent? My Lutheran tradition emphasizes that we don’t give up something to earn points with God or to look down on others who are not as “spiritual” as we are. Rather my friend Pastor Evan Gaertner said it well, if we give something up as a spiritual practice, “we need visual, oral, and written clues that as we do without “something” we discover what God is doing with us.”

I have been thinking creatively about how American congregations that have followed our work facilitating Bible translation in Ghana can join with their brothers and sisters in Christ in Ghana as they prepare to celebrate a printed Bible in their own language. Then I thought what about giving up Scripture for one Sunday in the way we know it? How would this help us?  Could it help us identify with our neighboring Christians around the world who rely on hearing the Gospel in English and then having it filtered through English grammar and translation before it comes to them in their own language? How would this help us “hear the Gospel” and point us to the work of Jesus in us and in the world? How might this help us realize who we are in Christ so we can better serve our neighbors?

Here are some practical resources for putting this idea into practice. Please send me a message for more help. Continue reading A Lenten preparation for an African Bible: doing without Scripture in our own language