Leaning forward across the table, I listen in awe as the words I have just spoken in English are translated into the Roma language of Kalderash. Kalderash. I have never heard of this language! The very name evokes fairy tale images rich in adventure and saturated in color.
Indeed, some would say the lives of the Roma are colorful. Even adventurous. Yet, their history is riddled with destitution, oppression, and loss. Migrating from India over a thousand years ago, known through the years as travelers or gypsies, they are now spread across Europe.
Enslavement, persecution and death have stalked the Roma, or Romany, for centuries. With this heritage they find themselves with little hope for life. For the future. Until they are introduced to a Savior. To Jesus Christ. In His kindness He breathes new life, true color, into the Roma who choose Him.
It is then the incredible jubilee begins! The beautiful musical heritage of the Roma explodes in wonderful, riotous music as a celebration of their Savior. Fingers fly across the violin, drums pound out the beat, guitars race one another, and songs burst from deep within worshipers. The louder, the better!
Their joy clutches at me. Becomes mine. My heart rises to join theirs through the haunting strains of the fiddle, keeping time with the moving drums. Celebrating my Savior, their Savior. Hope!
Psalm 13:5 and 6 has become a reality for those who have chosen this Savior: I’ve thrown myself headlong into your arms— I’m celebrating your rescue. I’m singing at the top of my lungs, I’m so full of answered prayers. It is a reality shared. A deep reality embroidered with sweet privilege. The privilege of caring for those who have introduced these Roma to Jesus. The privilege of caring for leaders placed in strategic places, carrying out ministry. The privilege of offering encouragement. Sweetness. And, riotous celebration!