Music and Congolese Spirituality

INVOCATION

 Yesu, yaka awa

na esika oyo

 

Biso tokosenga

ngolu mpe bolingo.

 

“Jesus come to us in this place;

      We ask for your mercy and your love”.

 

BENEDICTION

 

Ekobima biso

Na matambe pwasa

 

Tokotambolaka

Nde na nkolo Yesu

 

 “When we step out on the next leg of our journey

            We will be walking with our Lord Jesus.”

 

There is an astonishing richness and variety to the music performed by choirs in Congo. With sheet music even rarer than hymnals in parishes of the Disciples, most of the music is composed by the choir director, which leads to a friendly competition among the three, four or more choirs and directors in even the smallest parish.  This accounts in part for the three hour worship customary in most parishes, with the choir’s performances taking up half the service.

The only sacred music I came to recognize opened and closed meetings.  The two verses of the lyrics above served as invocation and benediction for several gatherings I attended and were always followed by a prayer as well.

Beginning and ending with Jesus, the singing of these lyrics acknowledges and celebrates the importance of the personal relationship with the Lord Jesus as the foundation of the Congolese Disciples’ faith.