Yuan Yin Chuan Chang

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Yuan Yin Chuan Chang

All nations and all peoples shall praise and extol the Lord altogether

The origin of “Yuan Yin Chuan Chang”

Written by Supina Nakaisulan

“Praise the LORD, all you nations; extol him, all you peoples. For great is his love toward us, and the faithfulness of the LORD endures forever. Praise the LORD.” (Psalm 117:1-2)
Can you imagine what the scene would be like when all nations and all peoples, just like what the Psalm describes, praise and extol the Lord altogether? In my imagination, when all nations and peoples praise the Lord altogether, the scene would be chaos, because they would use different languages, rhythms, and instruments to sing their own hymns. Does it sound pleasant? Maybe not, but God will like it.

Languages are created by God. One language can create one unique kind of musical culture and philosophical way of thinking. They are co-related. The worship of all nations God want is definitely not just a song or the same music patterns duplicated from one language to another. If there is only one language and one music style in the world, the scenario of Tower of Babel will, slowly but surely, grow in the church, and we will become part of the contributors to the Tower without knowing it.

Although the languages of Taiwanese indigenous tribes are not the mainstream languages in Taiwan, the lives and histories of Taiwan’s mountains, rivers and oceans interrelated with one another and bred the natural gift of music for the indigenous people. Their rhythm is one of a kind, and only through the indigenous people can the unique inspiration be brought to us. Without doubt, this uniqueness shall not be replaced, ignored or eradicated.

I once had a chance to talk with some pastors from Taya presbytery. At the time, Taiwan campus folk music was popular, and “Yu-Shan Theological College and Seminary” was influenced by the campus folk music culture as well. New gospel songs were composed massively. In order to cope with the workload of the internship and assist education ministry of churches, the college students needed a large number of gospel songs to teach in churches. New songs were posted on the bulletin board every week for students to copy. It is the reason why in indigenous churches, there are many gospel songs without sheet music and the congregation can still sing them. This story told us God has gifted the indigenous people the ability to compose music. It is a sacred calling to restore and elevate indigenous people’s gift and vision for music and transform this gift into a platform for church youth ministry.

Imitating pop-gospel music style is not what we want for indigenous gospel music. What we are trying our best to do is to inject the mother tongues, cultures, ancient rhythms and life experience into the music and make it a worship, pray and gratitude to God, which is the fundamental value that indigenous gospel music should pursue. Without the fundamental value, our music is just for the pleasure of people. What God want is the worship of all nations. May we stop building the Tower of Babel, and let the ancient rhythms and melody from all nations and peoples lead us to know the source of all creations and creativity, our Lord, through the creation from every indigenous youth.