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The Blessing – how many languages will it be sung in? May 10, 2020

Posted by P, J, or J in multilingualism, worship.

A new song based on an ancient blessing has quickly becoming the anthem of 2020 for virtual choirs around the globe. I first heard the “UK Blessing” performed by a virtual choir from 65 churches and received almost 2 million views in it’s first week.
The UK Blessing wasn’t the first and definitely not the last attempt to bring churches together from a single country.

One day blessings will be sung in over 7000 languages, but not necessarily to this tune

I like the song and love the significance of so many people coming together to sing (or sign) it. This same concept has been repeated in many different communities and countries so I went looking for how many different languages I could find it in and began adding them to a playlist.

To start with I found English (a few varieties), French, Spanish, Hebrew, Tagalog, Farsi, Italian, Malalayam, Hindi, (and another in both Malalayam and Hindi) Nepali, Romanian, Polish, Papiamentu, Korean, Japanese, Russian, Luganda, Mongolian, Lingala, Thai, Mandarin Chinese, Nigerian Pidgin, Tamil, Amharic, Portuguese, German, Dutch, Swahili. I’ve since added Shona, Ndebele, Xhosa (each part of The Blessing – Zimbabwe), Rukiga, Haitian Creole, BSL, ASL, Makaton, and Filipino Sign Language (There are 380+ sign languages in the world). One artist sings in Portuguese, French, English, Lingala & Korean. The Malaysian Blessing includes singers from 80 churches and includes English, Tamil, Bahasa Malaysia, Mandarin, Dusun, Kelabit and Iban. Then came Ukranian, Fijian, Ekegussi, Afrikaans , Vietnamese, Burmese, Mauritian Kreol, and Hungarian , and the list kept growing. I almost stopped counting at 70 but then I heard the Nigerian and Ghanaian versions and more recently a version for India with 31 different languages. So here is the full alphabetical list so far:

Albanian, Afrikaans, Ambon, American Sign Language (ASL), Amharic, Ao Naga, Arabic, Armenian, Assamese, Bahasa Indonesia, Bahasa Malaysia, Batak Pakpak, Batak Simalungun, Bali, Batak Karo, Batak Toba, Bengali, Benin,Bhojpuri, Birom, Bisaya, British Sign Language (BSL), Bulgarian, Bundeli, Burmese, Cebuano, Chhattisgarhi, Chinese (Mandarin), Chinese (Cantonese), Cilacap, Dari, Dayak, Duala, Dusun, Dutch, Ekegussi, Ende, English, Esan, Farsi, Fijian, Filipino Sign Language, French, German, Greek, Gujarati, Haitian Creole, Hakha Chin, Hausa, Haryanavi, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Iban, Ibibo, Igbo, Ijaw, Italian, Japanese, Jawa, Kalabari, Kannada, Karenni (Kayah), Karina, Kelabit, Khasia, Khmer, Kikuyu, Kinyarwanda, Kokborok, Konkani, Korean, Kutai, Kyrgyz, Lampung, Lingala, Luganda, Macedonian, Makaton, Maithili, Malagasy, Malayalam, Malaysian Sign Language (BMI), Manado, Manipuri, Marathi, Mauritian Kreol, Mexican sign language, Mizo, Mongolian, Nagamese, Ndebele, Nepali, Nias, Nigerian Pidgin, Nishi, Norwegian, Odia, Okrika, Oshiwambo, Otjiherero, Papiamentu, Papua, Polish, Portuguese, Punjabi, Romanian, Rukiga, Russian, Sadri, Scottish Gaelic, Shona, Sinhala, Spanish, Sunda, Swahili, Swedish, Tagalog, Tamil, Teluga,Ternate, Thai, Tiv, Tongan, Toraja, Turkish, Ukranian, Ukrainian sign language, Urbohobo, Urdu, Uzbek, Vietnamese, Waray, Welsh, Xhosa, Yoruba, Zomi and Zulu.

…which brings the count to over 140 in 126 days! (as of June 2)

This also includes versions in 8 sign languages (so far)

According to Billboard.com the song, “The Blessing”, was written by Kari Jobe and Cody Carnes on Feb 27th and first recorded in Charlotte, North Carolina on March 1st. The main chorus is much older, based on Numbers 6:24-26

“The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.”


These verses have been translated into at least the 700 languages that have full Bibles. It is available in at least 400 of those via bible.com and bible.is and others that can be found via find.bible and scriptureearth.org

In the weeks since I first posted about this I’ve added several updates, each ending with the same question:

In how many languages could be it be sung by the people connecting online to your church?

This final video is from one congregation in London, UK, in a city where well over 300 languages are known to be spoken (and others are yet to be counted).


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