Watchful Wednesdays – a Guest Post – Martin Roth
I have had the pleasure of meeting many new Christian authors since I joined the John 3:16 Network. There is a new launch of Christian Books starting in December – to find out more go to John316 Book Launch.
Today I welcome Martin Roth, who is author of many novels and whose life is full of experiences.
Canaan Hymns – The Sound of Christian China
by Martin Roth
One of the unexpected joys of doing research for my novel “Brother Half Angel” – set in China, and the first of my Brother Half Angel series of international thrillers – was discovering the gorgeous and moving Canaan Hymns.
So they are somewhat different from the hymns we sing in our Western churches. Different from our traditional hymns, and different too from our modern praise-and-worship music.
They are sentimental, carrying a sense of nostalgia, with unpretentious melodies and lyrics that speak of the beauty and majesty of China and of a simple life spent in the presence of God. They are slow, melodic and a little dreamy. They are not deeply theological. They will not be to all Western tastes.
But just as moving as the hymns themselves is the story of how they came to be written.
One night in 1990 a young Chinese peasant girl named Xiao Min, unable to sleep, found a song flooding into her consciousness. Over ensuing weeks and months more songs arrived, unbidden, often while she was at her work in the fields picking cotton.
These were songs about God, about His great love for the Chinese people, about the Christian life of prayer, worship, joy and sacrifice.
Traveling evangelists realized the songs were a direct inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and began to spread them throughout the country. Soon Chinese believers everywhere, especially those in the underground home churches, were singing these songs whenever they worshipped.
Over the years Xiao Min received many more songs from God, until their number reached around one thousand. They were named the Canaan Hymns.
Here is one example of a Canaan Hymn:
Uploaded on May 24, 2008
We Give Our Lives Willingly – a Canaan Hymn by Xiao Min
Others can be found on YouTube. Google: Canaan Hymns.
Listen, and experience, as I have, the warm feelings of love and compassion that percolate from these tender and very special hymns.
Martin is a veteran journalist and foreign correspondent whose reports from Asia have appeared in leading publications around the world, including the Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Baltimore Sun and The Guardian. He is the author of many books.
His Brother Half Angel international thrillers focus on the persecuted church. They feature Brother Half Angel, an abrasive former military man who heads a clandestine new military order that is dedicated to fighting for the rights of persecuted Christians around the world.
The five books in the series are “The Coptic Martyr of Cairo,” “Brother Half Angel,” “The Maria Kannon,” “Military Orders” and “Festival in the Desert.”
He is also the author of the Johnny Ravine private eye series, with “Prophets and Loss,” “Hot Rock Dreaming” (Australian Christian Book of the Year finalist) and “Burning at the Boss,” and the Feisty Ferreira series of financial thrillers – “Tokyo Bossa Nova” and “The Kalgoorlie Skimpy.”
He lives in Australia with his Korean wife and three sons.
Visit him at his website – Martin Roth