Monday, February 22, 2010

ASL-induced clarity

I've been taking classes in American Sign Language at our local YMCA for about 8 weeks. We've gotten through the basics: family relations, pronouns, and everyday words for introductory conversation.

The last two weeks, however, we've been going through the "religious" words. Spirit, salvation, worship, bless, anoint, holy, sin, grace, hallelujah, baptize, etc. plus the signs for several denominations like Catholic, Jewish, AG, Episcopal, Lutheran, Methodist, Quaker, SDA, LDS, and Church of God.

But two in particular really struck me tonight.

The first is "crucify". Your thumbs go into your opposite palms like nails and then are "driven in" with a fist. There's something about signing that over and over and over for practice that drove home a real "ah ha" moment tonight. Picturing those nails...not to mention His life...all done for little ol' me.

The second was the sign for "sacrifice" and "give". They are very similar - the only difference is the way they begin. "Sacrifice" begins with both hands in a "S" of finger spelling at chest level and then you move your hands forward as if you are offering someone something. The tricky part, our instructor said, often is to remember to open your hands..."sacrifice doesn't work unless you open your hands to let it go."


How many times do we think we are giving something or of ourselves but never truly let go? Is it really a sacrifice for someone or, better yet, for God if we never truly let go of whatever it is?

I've heard it preached that God can handle your "baggage" but you have to give it to Him, let it go, and you can't pick it back up!! Praise God that this is true.

So, tonight, I'm remembering my Lord's true "sacrifice" for me through him being "crucified", nails driven through His hands and dying for me to allow me to let go of that baggage and find new life in Him.



Jennifer said...

That is really fascinating. I couldn't stop from trying the motions as you described them either. I know in Young Children in Worship the sign for Jesus is pointing to your palms with your index finger which is very similar to how you described crucify.

Heather @ Not a DIY Life said...

Awesome. I love it when God uses the unexpected to teach us about Him. Bet you never thought you'd learn more about Him in ASL class.

Another sign that hits home for me is "holy." You sign clean, wiping the right open palm over the left open palm. Except the right had is in the H formation instead of open. Makes the meaning of holy really evident, doesn't it?

sara said...

You've been blogging! Hooray!

I remember that in some churches of my youth, many of the congregants used sign language during the worship songs. I remember the crucified sign and also something that looks like the 'L' finger shape making a sash - I think that means Lord.

Thanks for sharing your lightbulb moment and for bringing back good memories.