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600

Yesu azali awa (Jesus Christ Is with Us)

Scripture References

Confessions and Statements of Faith References

Further Reflections on Confessions and Statements of Faith References

Sometimes the soul of the Christian needs to cry out exuberantly with joy, thanks, and adoration, even without identifying the reasons for such praise and adoration. Moreover, Christians who gather corporately find it fitting to do so as the grateful body of Christ. The Confessions of the church recognize this natural expression. Belgic Confession, Article 1 sees God as the “overflowing source of all good,” and such a realization deserves an “Alleluia!” Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 1, Question and Answer 2 is a reminder that living in the joy of our comfort involves a spirit of thanks for his deliverance. In the same spirit, Our World Belongs to God, paragraph 2 exclaims, “God is King: Let the earth be glad! Christ is victor: his rule has begun! The Spirit is at work: creation is renewed!” and then as a natural response cries: “Hallelujah! Praise the Lord!”

600

Yesu azali awa (Jesus Christ Is with Us)

Tune Information

Name
YESU AZALI AWA
Key
E Major
600

Yesu azali awa (Jesus Christ Is with Us)

Hymn Story/Background

One day I was humming this song in the hallway at Calvin Seminary, and a student from the Congo stopped with delight, then joined me with full voice in singing this song known throughout much of central Africa. I was then preparing worship for the 2005 Assembly of the Reformed Ecumenical Council that met in Utrecht, the Netherlands. The Calvin Institute of Christian Worship sent a worship team of 10 faculty and students to that Assembly, which was helpful learning about and developing many international relationships that have continued. The assembly theme was “I wll be with you always,” and “Yesu asali awa” was selected as a theme song, prepared in English, Dutch, and Ngala. The Dutch translation is taken from Hoop van all volken: Zingen met partnerkerken (Hope for all people: singing with partner churches), a collection of international songs produced in 1998 by Kerkinactie (Churches in action), an ecumenical group of Dutch churches. 
— Emily Brink

Lingala (Ngala) is a Bantu language spoken throughout the northwestern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and a large part of the Republic of the Congo, as well as to some degree in Angola and the Central African Republic. It has over 10 million speakers.
— Wikipedia

Author Information

Emily Ruth Brink (b. 1940, Grand Rapids, MI) graduated from Calvin College (BA in Music), the University of Michigan (MM in Church Music) and Northwestern University, Evanston, IL (PhD in Music Theory). She taught at Manhattan (Montana) Christian School (1964-1966), the State University of New York (New Paltz; 1966-1967), Trinity Christian College (Palos Heights, IL; 1967-1972), and the University of Illinois (Campaign/Urbana; 1974-1983), also serving as organist and choir director in both Episcopal and Christian Reformed churches in those areas.

In 1977 she was appointed to the Psalter Hymnal Revision Committee, and in 1983 moved to Grand Rapids in a change of careers to become the first music and worship editor of the Christian Reformed Church. She was the founding editor of Reformed Worship; editor of the Psalter Hymnal (1987), Songs for LiFE (1994), Sing! A New Creation (2001, 2002); co-editor with Bert Polman of The Psalter Hymnal Handbook (1998), and editor of many other worship-related publications. Since 1984 she has been an adjunct professor at Calvin Theological Seminary, directing the seminary choir in the first years, and introducing courses on church music and worship before being granted emeritus status in 2009.

Her ecumenical work began with the Hymn Society in the United States and Canada, becoming the first woman president (1990-1992); in 2006 she was named a Fellow of the society in recognition of distinguished services to hymnody and hymnology. She served in both local and national offices of the American Guild of Organists, and has been a member for more than twenty years of the Consultation on Common Texts, serving as chair from 2008 to 2014.

In 2002, she became a Senior Research Fellow at the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, contributing to The Worship Sourcebook and other publications; serving as program chair of the annual Symposium on Worship; and helping to plan and participate in worship conferences in more than fifteen countries. 
— Emily Brink
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