Kaylee stirred in the pew, eyeing the choir at the front of the church. They swayed slightly and their mouths stretched wide in odd positions. All around her people smiled as they listened, and her mom wiped away a tear. Kaylee had no clue what the song was about, but at least it was something out of the ordinary to watch.
Oh, joy. Now the sermon. Kaylee sighed. Next Saturday there was a party at the school for the Deaf, maybe she could talk her parents into letting her stay on campus over the weekend. At least at school she could communicate, even if the kids were mean. Kaylee’s mom began scribbling on a paper and Kaylee feigned interest in the disjointed groupings of words that supposedly represented the sermon.
When the congregation began to sing, Kaylee grew tired of struggling to sign the cryptic words that spilled across the overhead. Instead she turned her attention to the people. The woman in front of her had her hands held high and a look of such wonder and love and peace on her face. All around her Kaylee saw these emotions that she yearned to understand. What was it about church, about singing, about God, that brought this joy? Kaylee’s shoulders slumped. She was locked in a different language, a different world, a different dimension.
After the service a few of her mother’s friends waved at her, but mostly they talked over her head. Even the other children only eyed her from a distance and didn’t offer to include her in their games. Then she felt a simple tap on her shoulder. When Kaylee turned around, expecting to come face to face with yet another language block, she found instead a smiling face. And hands that knew her world.
“Hi! My name’s Andrea.” The young lady’s hands moved fluently. “I just moved into town and started coming to this church. I saw you signing, so I came over to meet you.”
Oh the joy! Kaylee could hardly sign fast enough. Hardly find out enough information about her new friend. Andrea agreed to join them for lunch. Kaylee’s parents expressed delight, not only for a friend for Kaylee, but also for the interpreting as they ate Sunday lunch.
The next weekend Kaylee ignored the party at school and actually looked forward to the long Sunday service. That day when the singing started, she was amazed to find that Andrea was on the worship team. But Andrea didn’t just translate the song words into sign. It was more than that. Her hands floated through the air, swooping and dancing, drawing out signs with such beauty and rhythm. Watching her, Kaylee began to grasp what music was all about.
She couldn’t wait until the service ended. She found Andrea and they talked all about the music and signs. Then Kaylee asked, “That song said there would be no more death for us, because there was death for Jesus. What did it mean?”
“Do you know about Jesus? How He died on the cross so that we could go to heaven?”
Kaylee wasn’t sure.
They found a place to sit, and Andrea started at the beginning. Kaylee watched as the gospel was shared in her own language. She watched as Andrea threw her arms wide and puffed her cheeks to portray the great love God had for her. She watched as Andrea’s brow darkened and her fingers showed the flickering flames of hell where all people deserved to spend eternity. Then she watched as the story of Jesus played out before her eyes. Kaylee was shocked when the wonderful healings and miracles of Jesus changed suddenly to the Romans’ hate and mockery of the Man. And then He was dead.
“No, no!” Even Kaylee’s voice protested the injustice.
But Andrea’s face grew brighter than ever. “He came back to life three days later, Kaylee! Jesus, the Son of God, conquered death. If we believe in Him, He will forgive us for the bad we’ve done. He will live in our hearts now and bring us to heaven when we die.” Andrea stood up and once again she sang the song.
“No death for us, for Jesus died.
But now it’s life, with Him abide!
Our joy complete, His peace to keep,
We live within His love so deep.”
Kaylee watched the pictures in the air, joining in with her own shaking hands. And this time, this time she understood.
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