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Our language is the language of love

Mathius and Martina

Rev Mathius Sampe Ritti from the Tanah Toraja region of the Indonesian island of Sulawesi has won the Uniting Church Assembly multicultural song writing competition.  Mathius is staying in Adelaide while his wife Ibu Martina Bangalino completes post-graduate tertiary study in educational management at Flinders University.

Mathius is a minister of the Torajan church and has served in churches in both Sulawesi and Jakarta.  While he is in Australia, he is making a comparative study of the Uniting Church and his own church in Tanah Toraja.

“I love music,” Mathius said. “I’ve written many songs in Indonesia.”  In 1986 he won a national song writing contest in the Toraja language. He plays keyboard, flute and guitar. His winning song is “"Bahasa Kasih" / The Language of Love".

“When I went to my first service in Australia I felt different from the other people in the church,” he said.  “The language, the culture, the colour of my skin – they were all different. But in other ways we’re the same. We’re the same in the important things. We’re the same in Christ.  What makes us one is love.”

Mathius entered two songs in the competition. The winning song begins: “My heart says, ‘We are different in languages,’ but my faith says: ‘We belong to one language’; our language is the language of love.”

Photo : Mathius and Martina