written by Hollen Hostetler in collaboration with Matt Swanton

In a small country in Europe nestled between France and Germany, a stirring is taking place to see the healing of a fractured and divided church. With three distinct languages and a diversity of culture, Belgium has long been divided into the French-speaking Wallonia, Dutch-speaking Flanders, and the German-speaking East Cantons. Clashes over politics, government, and federal funding have kept these areas apart. A ministry partner working with OM Belgium, Matt Swanton, says, “You cross from one side to the other and it feels like entering a different country.”

This division has bled over into the Belgian churches, producing distrust and independence. Matt says, “Because of the cultural and language divide, I think few Christians have really bothered exploring unity between Wallonian and Flemish communities.” But recently, a few Christians did try, seeing music as an avenue for uniting Belgian believers. Serving at a youth ministry event called Explosion, several worship leaders and musicians had a deep desire to collaborate on a project that would see peace and unity proclaimed over the nation. After the release of the UK version of “The Blessing,” they decided this was the piece they would like to use. A myriad of connections and contacts later, 80 people were involved in the project! Roughly half were French, and half were Flemish with one German-speaking participant (along with a need for unity, there is a deep need for churches in the German-speaking portion of Belgium). The song was recorded in French, Flemish (Dutch), and German. Special care was taken to incorporate the Flemish dialect; according to Matt, “The Flemish translation is distinctive from the ‘official’ Dutch translation, specifically composed with the Flemish accent, vernacular and mannerisms in mind.”

Two studios comprised primarily of Christians in the French-speaking half offered up their time at no cost to mix the video. The video was then released, fittingly, on the Belgian National Holiday: July 21st. In the midst of a fractured nation, the piece declares the Lord’s presence in the whole of Belgium, seeking to walk with and for His people. Originating in Numbers 6:24-26, this powerful benediction reminds Belgian believers of the Lord’s heart for His people and their unity as children of God.

Watch and listen to The Blessing Belgium by clicking the link below (and see the English translation of the lyrics just underneath).

The Blessing Belgium 

The Lord bless you and keep you
Make His face shine upon you
And be gracious to you
The Lord turn His face toward you,
And give you peace

Amen, amen, amen
Amen, amen, amen

May His favor be upon you
And a thousand generations
And your family and your children
Their children, and their children

May His presence go before you
And behind you, and beside you
All around you, and within you
He is with you, He is with you

In the morning, in the evening
In your coming, and your going
In your weeping, and rejoicing
He is for you, He is for you