Inside ‘Under the Canopy’

Like an apple tree among the trees of the forest
    is my beloved among the young men.
I delight to sit in his shade,
    and his fruit is sweet to my taste.
Let him lead me to the banquet hall,
    and let his banner over me be love.

  • Song of Songs 2:3-4

Your love has taken over me
Yes I have learnt to depend on you
I’ve got confidence in you
In you oh lord, I put my trust
Your love has taken over me
Because I have learnt to depend on you
I have confidence in you
In you oh Lord, I put my trust

<Refrain>

Your love has taken over me
Father, I depend on you
I have confidence in you
In you oh Lord, I put my trust
Your love has taken over me
Father, I depend on you
I have confidence in you
In you oh Lord, I put my trust

Yes you cover me
Under the canopy
Give me security
I am the righteousness of God
Yes you cover me
Under the canopy
Give me security
I am the righteousness of God

This is my season of increase
I am lost in your love
Your mercies endureth forever
Jehovah Adonai
You no dey play me kalo kalo
You no dey play me wayo
You too dey bless me welu welu
My life no be the same
You no dey play me kalo kalo
You no dey play me wayo
You too dey bless me welu welu
My life no be the same

Repeat refrain

All things are working together
‘Causes you love love love me
When I lay my hands on the sick
Devil dey run run run run run
‘Cause you no dey play me kalo kalo
You no dey play me wayo
You too dey bless me welu welu
My life no be the same
You no dey play me kalo kalo
You no dey play me wayo
You too dey bless me welu welu
My life no be the same

Repeat refrain

  • Frank Edwards, Under the Canopy

Recently a friend from high school, to whom I owe a great deal, made that debt larger.  She sent a link to an article on Global Christian Worship (on Tumblr.com) that I think her husband contributed.  Frank Edwards, a Nigerian artist, starts the song in acapella, but after going through the first verse twice, a flash mob develops with guitars, trumpets, and dancers.  The beginning demonstrates a beautiful voice and a clear message, but then the excitement around him makes the video a wonderful worship experience, a toe tapper.  Here’s a link to the youtube version.

But I always have trouble with words that I cannot understand as they are sung or foreign words in a language of unknown origin.  It is a fact that, on my first trip to India, I have circumnavigated the world, all in the northern hemisphere, although Singapore was really close to the equator. I have spent extended periods of time in India, Thailand, and China.  I lived in Germany for three years.  But at the same time, my language skills are poor and something inside me tells me that I am still a dumb old farm boy from Mississippi.

At first, what I understood from the clear voice of Frank Edwards was that God’s love takes over our being when we place our confidence in Him, and in Him, we place our trust.  We are under a canopy, given security, and we are the embodiment of the righteousness of God.

Of course, our righteousness is not of our doing, but of God cleansing us from our sin and indwelling within us.  His message is made in just that part.

Then he, actually the chorus, mentions three words that I did not know:  Kalo Kalo, Wayo, and Welu Welu.  Praise the Lord that the internet is smarter than I am.  This song exploded in meaning, understanding those three words.  And the song writer did not make it easy, although they may be common words in his Nigerian dialect.  The internet found three different origins for the words.

“Kalo Kalo” is from Fiji, according to the internet.  It is the Fijian expression for stars.  We are under a canopy of stars.  We see the stars at night.  The stars are there in the daylight.  We just cannot see them.  This is such a beautiful expression of God watching over us.  He is there even when we do not see Him.  It could be a post, in and of itself.

“Wayo” is Swahili for footprint.  Tradition has the serpent, Satan, beneath us in the underworld.  Having a canopy of stars watching over us does no good if the threat is from underneath us.  Thus, the song writer has us covered in both directions, for there is no place on earth that does not contain the footprint of our God.

“Welu Welu” is, according to a third website, a Nigerian Pidgin English expression for something being really good – almost inexpressibly good.  While God has a canopy of stars above us and a canopy of footprints beneath us, we are completely absorbed in between with a blessing of the love of God – something so ridiculously good that words cannot express.

It makes you want to find out what else Frank Edwards has come up with.  I have, and you will not be disappointed.

Soli Deo Gloria.  Only to God be the Glory.

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