I blogged about my trip to Poland in September of 2006 (here, here, here, here, here, and here), when two other ladies from my church joined me and we went to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Polish church we support.
In these posts, I mentioned the trip to Poland I had taken with another couple in 1997. What I haven't mentioned, however, is that during the '97 trip I received two cassette tapes with Christian music on them when we were there, and one song, Golgoto, was on both tapes. It was haunting, and when I played it later for the lady I traveled with (she's also the organist and sometimes pianist at church), she said, "That's in a minor key. Oh! That's a really minor key."
The version I played for her opens with the sound of a very large metal hammer striking a very large nail three times. Then it pauses and strikes three more times. Another pause and three more strikes, and then the music and singing begin.
I tried translating it myself with my Polish-English dictionary (which I've since misplaced), but didn't do a good enough job. So the organist wrote to the woman who does most of the translating of news from the Polish churches, and she had already translated Golgoto into English. She sent the organist the English lyrics and the sheet music.
I knew it was coming, but one morning at church, during communion, the song the organist played was Golgoto. That was the way she told me it had arrived, and I cried my way through communion, because she knew I was the only one who would recognize it.
She and I practiced together, and not long after that, I actually sang the song for the church to her accompaniment. I sang the second verse (it's more pronounceable than the first verse) and chorus in Polish and then sang the same ones in English. Here are the (English) lyrics that I sang:
I see You, my Lord, on the cross,
So many bruises and wounds.
Your love was the power that held You there
To free me from guilt and from sin.
It was not the nails that pierced You, but my sin.
It was not people who wronged You, but my sin.
It was not the nails that held You, but my sin.
Though it happened long ago, You did it for me.
I found a performance of Golgoto on YouTube. Beata Bednarz has a choir, and her arrangement of the chorus is more jazzed up than mine, but you get the idea (the verse I sang starts at 0:33 into the video)...
It's the perfect song for Good Friday.