Over the past several months, the sign language interpreter at my church has remained constant. This is a change from the multiple intermittent interpreters that have sat in the chair next to the stage that I’ve gotten used to. Now there is one man, every week, and we sit on his side of the main worship center.
My eye is drawn to him every week. During worship, the sermon, the announcements.
He’s good. He’s expressive. He’s passionate. He smiles and scowls and makes all the right facial expressions for sarcasm and candor and encouragement. He’s probably a believer; at least I would assume that to come to a church every week with the direct intention of translating emotional, exhorting, passionate speech into authentic American Sign Language that people believe, one would be much more effective if they believed it themselves.
I used to work as a relay agent in a Communication Services for the Deaf (CSD) call center, translating voice calls into teletype devices and vice versa. Part of the gig is promising that you will authentically translate tone and emotion. This means I had to describe how the speaking person sounded to the deaf person with text, and relay with my words anger, happiness, boredom, sarcasm, etc. within the context of the conversation.
As you can imagine, these FCC-protected conversations could get interesting. I remember all sorts of calls happening around me… some that were extremely awkward… (Yeah, that kind of call!) Once I even processed a “transaction” where I’m pretty sure the two guys weren’t actually discussing the sale of a washing machine.
No matter the content, I was under an oath, an obligation, to translate to the best of my ability the most important parts of conversation in the right way, the way that communicated the true intention.
And it hit me today: In the same way, I am a translator for a God who chooses very often to speak not in words, but actions. As a follower of God, I am responsible for translating his love into acts of kindness, compassion, mercy, grace and forgiveness.
And when I don’t do those things, I’m not being a very good translator. When I refuse to love others as I would like to be loved, I am not being an authentic communicator of truth to those around me.
The interpreter on Sunday mornings puts his everything into how he “speaks.” No part of his upper body remains, expect for an intentional dramatic pause.
God gave my my body for a reason: to use it to communicate His love and care for those around us. He’s given me this month, this week, this day, this moment to act in His name and serve others.
And I can start by serving my spouse. I could launch into a hundred different examples of how, but you have your own list, I’m sure. But don’t be overwhelmed by so many possible paths to take to be a little sacrificial and selfless. I can find a way to serve my spouse in this very moment. And so can you.