DAY 107: Friday 3 July
Good morning everyone
I recall many years ago being invited to speak at a church in Leamington Spa. Compared to our Chapel this was a larger church and more contemporary than us in their worship style. Before the service began, the worship group were leading singing from the stage and then a prayer was projected on the screen for everyone to speak out. Then the worship group dispersed, and my name appeared on the screen, so I moved across to the lectern, introduced myself and began my talk.
As I was speaking I became aware that 6-8 people sat on the front row of seats on the righthand side of the church weren’t looking at me at all, and only then did I realise that standing a few feet from my right shoulder was one of the female singers from the worship group. As I spoke, she was translating my words into sign language which is why those people on the front row were looking at her and not me. We often see signers just behind newsreaders or politicians and I must admit I often find their animated actions amusing. To translate a straightforward phrase seems to require the signer to almost dig a virtual trench with maximum energy, but I recognise for those who are deaf, this is their lifeline to be able to share in our world.
But talking hands seem have become more common for the rest of the population, far more than I can remember say 20 years ago. Younger women in particular seem to have a habit of continual hand movement when they talk but my observation is that the gesticulations don’t always seem to match the spoken words. I can understand a shaking fist to communicate anger; moving arms in a wave-like motion to indicate indecision; hands jerked upwards to signify ‘I give up!’ and rolling hands around each other shows that something just goes on and on.
But very often the gesticulations that accompany the speaking just don’t seem to have any connection. Perhaps I am failing to recognise that these people are simultaneously communicating 2 messages – the spoken words are what I am saying now, but my hands are communicating what is going to follow?
Psychologists point out that differing messages can be communicated to your listeners who watch your hand movements, and often these may contradict what you are saying. Overly large hand gestures will certainly distract from what you are trying to say. Hands open at 45 degrees implies you are being honest and open whilst open palms with fingers together implies you have expertise. (Tony Blair had the habit of using these when speaking). Open palms downwards indicates you are certain about what you’re saying. Hands clenched in front of you indicates you are nervous, as does constant touching of your face, hair or neck. So we all communicate, often unknowingly, through what our hands are doing.
We read in the Old Testament of an occasion where a hand spoke through writing on a wall where King Belshazzar, son of Nebuchadnezzar, was holding a feast that was degenerating into a drunken orgy. Suddenly the fingers of a hand appeared writing on the wall and Belshazzar was terrified, so much that he turned pale and his knees knocked together. Eventually Daniel was sent for who interpreted the words -
Daniel 5:25-28 “This is the inscription that was written: mene, mene, tekel, parsin. “Here is what these words mean:
Mene: God has numbered the days of your reign and brought it to an end.
Tekel: You have been weighed on the scales and found wanting.
Parsin: Your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians.”
That same night, Belshazzar the Persian king died and Darius the Mede took control of the kingdom.
Even without uttering a word our hands can communicate – gnarled hands can indicate a life of hard work whilst silky smooth hands could imply the opposite. Talking hands can communicate across any language such as giving directions without saying a word simply by pointing in the direction. Years ago, learner drivers had to learn hand signals to indicate - turning right, turning left and slowing down (remember those?). Driving in almost any country in the world, a policeman steps out and raises his hand – you know he wants you to stop. The orchestra conductor creates musical sound simply from his hand and arm signals to the players. Cricket umpires and football referees can communicate their decision by hand signals. How often an outstretched hand can be a comfort and support to someone traumatised through fear and help lead them to a safe place.
Sometimes we say we are being led by the hand of God, that’s the divine hand that speaks truth as it leads – it speaks comfort, assurance, confidence, eternal hope and love.
Isaiah 42:6 - I the Lord, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand.
Here’s a kids Hymnalong you’ll all remember - so sing along with it
>>> HE’S GOT THE WHOLE WORLD IN HIS HAND
In yesterday’s email the news about Vera was positive but having been moved to Sheldon Unit on Wednesday evening, she took a turn for the worse with low blood pressure and a high temperature and had to be rushed back over to the main hospital.
MAKE YOU SMILE – another of those Lockdown poems from INstep
The telly is rubbish, repeats there are plenty
I’ve seen this before when I was just twenty!
But football is back, a good schedule-filler
Welcomed by some, but not by the Villa!
But now it’s all changing and all of a sudden
We can start to do things that before were forbidden
I’ve been on the bus covered up with a mask
We’ve been out in the car and drunk tea from a flask
It’s not been all bad as I’m sure you’ll agree
We’re all more aware of the birds, flowers and trees
How fragile life is has been made very plain
And how we should value the years that remain
There are several more weeks before summer ends
Warm balmy days to spend with our friends
Soon in the hedgerows for berries we’ll search
And perhaps, by the autumn, we’ll get back to church?