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Home » Communique » Archive » 2004 » February Stories Send to a friend     print

Slices of bread

February 23, 2004

In our congregations there are stories to tell, stories full of the mysteries and joy of our faith– stories of the Holy Spirit at work among us.

Sign to the Lord a New Song

Pastor Bill Cowen, currently serving St. Olaf in Kindersley, SK speaks a language that not many Lutheran clergy use– American Sign Language (ASL).

Whenever Bill moves to a new town, he goes to the local police station and offers to translate, should the need arise. One time, his special skill was needed. Bill received a call. The deaf victim of an accident spoke only ASL. Could Bill come down to the station and help? He helped to interpret the necessary conversation and then, glad to have been of assistance, Bill returned home.

Not too surprisingly, the deaf man attended the worship service at St. Olaf the following Sunday. Bill had no chance to tell anyone else in the congregation that their visitor could hear neither the words nor the music. Bill could, however, see the tears of joy that trickled down his face as he "sang along" with the congregation.

How was this possible? Pastor Bill works with his congregation, teaching them to "sign" as they sing. While the graceful motions of their hands were to all the hearing members of the congregation only a lovely sort of liturgical dance, they opened to one visitor that morning an unexpected chance to worship.

Mark 7:37: They were astounded beyond measure, saying, "He has done everything well; he even makes the deaf to hear…"

You are invited to read, and use this story in whatever way is useful in your congregation. Perhaps you have experienced it– that moment within your faith community when you knew that the Holy Spirit was there among you. Share that story by sending it to communique@elcic.ca with the subject line "Stories of the Spirit."

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