Learning to ‘sing’ the Doxology using sign language opens up a new form of worship
The words and tune of the Doxology are so familiar that we often do not have to think too hard to recall them, as we sing it so often during service. But many of us would not know where to begin if we were asked to use sign language to ‘sing’ the Doxology.
On Saturday, 12 June 2021, over Zoom, Pastor Anthony Phua taught members of the congregation how to express the Doxology with sign language. The session was organised by the WSCS, after they caught wind that Ps Anthony had experience working with the Deaf in the past and was familiar with sign language.
Pastor Anthony began the session with a brief introduction to the culture of the Deaf and hard-of-hearing community. This enabled participants to better understand how to interact with the Deaf or partially Deaf. For instance, when we want to attract their attention, it is acceptable to tap them on their shoulders or turn the lights on and off when there is a large group in a room.
“Sign Language is God’s gift to the Deaf community. When we learn sign language, we begin to understand how a Deaf person relates with God, the world and one another. When we do so, we begin to learn how to relate to these amazing people as well,” said Ps Anthony.
“Sign Language is God’s gift to the Deaf community. When we learn sign language, we begin to understand how a Deaf person relates with God, the world and one another. When we do so, we begin to learn how to relate to these amazing people as well.”
Ps Anthony also explained the importance of expressing ourselves with visual cues and using our bodies and facial expressions to effectively communicate when the spoken word is not used.
The word ‘Doxology’ is derived from the Greek word ‘doxa’, meaning praise, honour, glory and splendour. When singing the Doxology, these words ascribe praise and worship to God.
Ps Anthony taught the participants the individual words in the Doxology using sign language, which are actually important words that are commonly used in Christian life.
Words such as ‘praise’, ‘God’, ‘blessings’, ‘Father’, ‘Son’, and ‘Holy Ghost’ were expressed with an added dimension of reverence and praise when we use our arms and hands to sign them. As with dancing, praising and honouring God can be done with our bodies as well.
Many of the participants were actually parent-child teams, showing that sign language is a skill that could be picked up at any age.
“Learning the Doxology in a new language actually helped us to focus on the words and what they mean. My family learned to praise God with words and with our hands after Pastor Anthony’s lesson. This opened up a new way to worship for us,” said Janice, who attended with her two children.
“The session was enjoyable. Ps Anthony was patient and encouraging, and it was nice to see a cross-section of our church members learning together!” added Bernice, who attended with daughter.