It happened again, this morning... during worship a young woman joined the band on stage to "sign" the songs we sang. Does this happen at your church? What do you make of it?
It's not like 'closed captioning for the hearing impaired," or having someone translate for the Spanish speakers among us. I'm pretty sure the only people in our congregation who understand ASL are girls like her who picked it up as an interesting challenge, second language, or something they might be able to use in ministry - or, apparently, in worship.
Since we can hear the words sung all around us and see them projected on the screen, the meaning is not lost. It's not as if she were speaking in tongues. Nobody is excluded. In fact, most of us could probably pick up some of the words from the signs alone, just as I could identify words and phrases from an article written in French or German.
But we don't have any members of the Deaf community in our church. And neither the sermon nor the announcements are signed, so if Deaf people came and wanted to feel at home they'd find rather limited service.
Is it language, or just art? Something like having an interpretive dancer join us?
See also: Learning from the Deaf How to Hear.