Monday, March 19, 2012

indigenous communion words

This afternoon I’m off to a gathering with local Kaurna speakers (the local indigenous language). On the agenda is the possibility of translating some communion phrases into the Kaurna language. This would enable us at Uniting College, who meet on Kaurna land, to acknowledge traditional owners by using some of their language in our worship.

Words that are commonly said, like the Lords Prayer, or communion, are obvious starting points, because they are used repeatedly and thus enable not just a one off, but regular usage. For example

The peace of the Lord be always with you: And also with you
The Lord be with you: And also with you
Lift up your hearts:We lift them to the Lord
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God: It is right to give our thanks and praise

Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.

Christ has died. Christ has risen. Christ will come again.

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord. In the name of Christ, Amen.

In March, at our monthly leadership formation day for candidates, we explored cross cultural issues and I suggested the use of the Kaurna language at our chapel.

It turned out that what I thought was blindly obvious was quite new, and that communion words were not available. But there is a regular language gathering, and today I get to meet with them. I hope to check that they are happy for their language to be used in this way. I hope to locate some words. I hope to be able to make a recording, to help us Anglo’s get our tongues around these new words. And I hope that it might nourish and enrich our worship at Uniting College, honouring those who have been made so voiceless within Australian culture. (Which for me, is a crucial part of missiology in Australia)

Of course, liturgy is always much more than words. (I’ve been exploring this here). It is also patterns and gestures and relationship. But words are a start. And the simple question – can we use some words, is leading me into some new and interesting territory!

Posted by steve at 11:08 AM

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