Sunday, February 1, 2015

The Love of God

It was a Saturday evening. I was busy with the after-dinner cleanup and listening to music on my phone which I kept nearby. Suddenly out came this beautiful song (probably received via the many Whatsapp groups), which I instantly recognized as a song we often sang in church. I was surprised, not because there exists an English version of a Mizo hymn, but because it was so easily available, and in such a modern version too! I grabbed the phone with my dirty hands, and after fumbling with the buttons for a while found that the song was called Love of God, performed by Mercyme.

Later I opened the Kristian Hla Bu and found the song at No. 43 – Pathian hmangaihna ropuizia, written by one Frederick M. Lehman.  Then came a flurry of Googling and Youtube-ing and discovering that the song was written by Lehman in 1917; and that the third and last stanza was inspired by a poem written nearly 200 years ago by an insane man on the walls of an asylum, which was in turn originally composed by a Jewish Rabbi around the year 1050!

It is a beautiful song, simple yet profound. I cannot decide which lyrics I love more, the Mizo or the English version.

KHB #43

Pathian hmangaihna ropuizia,
Thu leh hlain a hril seng lo;
Van aia sang, aw a zauzia,
Sual hmun thim ber pawh a thleng zo.
Sual bawiha tang, lungngai, mangang,
A Fapa a pe a;
Boral fate muanna a pe,
An sual a ngaidam ta.

A va thuk em, a va na em,
Pathian hmangaihna chu!
Chatuan pawhin a chuai dawn nem,
Angel varte hla chu.

Ram ropui leh lei lalthutthleng,
An tlawm vek ang, hun a ral ang;
Tu pawh tawngtai duh lova ngeng
Chuan tlang leh lung an la phen ang.
A chuai lo vang, a lang zel ang,
Pathian hmangaihna chu;
Adama thlah tlanna a fah,
Angel varte hla chu.

Tuifinriat zawng hlotui chang se,
Ziakna atan thingzar tinreng;      
Lehkha phekan van khi chang se,
Ziaktu atan chuan mi tinreng.
A hmangaihna puang dawn ila,
A kang zo ngei ange;
A leng dawn lo, a hlai tawk lo,
A hril seng chuang lo’ng e.


The love of God is greater far
Than tongue or pen can ever tell;
It goes beyond the highest star,
And reaches to the lowest hell;
The guilty pair, bowed down with care,
God gave His Son to win;
His erring child He reconciled,
And pardoned from his sin.

Oh, love of God, how rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure—
The saints’ and angels’ song.

When hoary time shall pass away,
And earthly thrones and kingdoms fall,
When men who here refuse to pray,
On rocks and hills and mountains call,
God’s love so sure, shall still endure,
All measureless and strong;
Redeeming grace to Adam’s race—
The saints’ and angels’ song.

Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade;
To write the love of God above
Would drain the ocean dry;
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky.