If there’s one thing that Christians, especially evangelicals, LOVE, it’s other languages. No one laps up African children’s choirs or a missionary on furlough opening his guest sermon in his missional language quite like Christians do. Sometimes Christians even like to wear traditional clothing of other nations during Missions Week to show their solidarity with countries they went to once on a missions trip back in the ’90s.
However, there is one language that Christians love above nearly all others, probably because you don’t even have to be able to hear to enjoy it. That language is SIGN LANGUAGE.
Despite the fact that I have never attended a service where a plural number of people was both hearing impaired and sign-language literate, Christians just LOVE LOVE LOVE singing with their hands. “Jesus Loves Me”? SIGNED. “Awesome God”? SIGNED. Anything by Hillsong? SIGNED. And if you’ve grown up in church, chances are you performed at least one signed song with the kiddie choir. Even my church got into the act not that long ago, with a small choir busting out the S.L. and the worship leader exhorting everyone to sing to God in “another language.”
I think the popularity of sign language stems from a couple of different places. For conservative, non-charismatic Christians, this gives them the opportunity to raise their arms above their heads and not feel like a threatening Pentecostal. Think of it as the White Christian’s Gospel Hands, or the White Christian’s Dancing From The Waist Up. For more liberal Christians, sign language gives them the satisfaction of “reaching out” while placating lack-of-diversity guilt at the same time. Basically, it’s all win from whatever angle you’re coming at it from.
So if you know signing, or even just one song that you learned at another church, don’t be shy. Let your worship leader know. Ten bucks says you’ll be doing a solo on Sunday morning in no time flat, or even teaching the choir to sign, and then just watch the hearts be blessed by your rare and special talent.
So SIGN ON, BRETHREN. SIGN ON.
P.S. It is not very easy to find videos of men signing while singing.