Multicultural RelationshipMulticultural Worship

Cross-Cultural Collaboration: Time to Create Something New

There are times in our lives in which old things are really important and valuable. I can’t tell you how many times a hymn written in the 1800’s has been a comfort and encouragement to me. I love looking at old photos, and feeling connected to history in that way. And an old pair of jeans…need I say more?

But sometimes, it is time for something new. Sometimes, you find that the old just doesn’t cut it, express it, contain it…

This past Sunday, I had the opportunity to do something new with my friend Beth Rosenzweig. Beth is Deaf and we have enjoyed worshiping together over the last several years as part of the Proskuneo team. We took our worshiping together to a new level this past week. We wrote a song together. In English and ASL. And we got the chance to sing/sign it at her church.

I had never seen/heard anything quite like what we did. Maybe it’s out there. Or maybe not. But, for us, it was new! I got the idea from rap music. What, we did sounded nothing like rap music, but it was similar in form. Often in rap music, the rapper will speak the verses rhythmically in a poetic way, and then it will arrive at a kind of chorus, where a hook is sung (often by someone other than the rapper, probably for a host of reasons!). That’s what we did.

Beth performed the verses in ASL. To her own tempo and rhythm and poetry. I spoke them poetically as she signed, while I played some background instrumental music on the piano. Then, when we arrived at the chorus, I began to sing, “Who will pray for me? Who will get down on their knees and carry my burdens? and make my needs known?” while she signed.

It was beautiful. It was respectful. (So many times we ask our Deaf friends to conform to a song that was written by a Hearing person. This time, I got to conform to Beth!) It was moving. It was powerful. The pastor couldn’t just go on with the service. He had to bask in it for a moment…letting it soak in.

“Behold, I am doing a new thing…” [Isaiah 43:19]

6 thoughts on “Cross-Cultural Collaboration: Time to Create Something New

  1. Thank you for such a great description. Wish I could have been there to experience it.
    Any chance we may see/hear it at the 10th Anniversary? Please. /

    1. Marie, probably not…the 10th Anniversary program is turning out to be pretty AWESOME, and pretty full…but hopefully you will see/hear this soon!

  2. I really wish I could have been there, to bask in that moment along with the pastor. But I’m grateful you were able to be there and to take part in something so beautiful! I hope someone was able to video this so we can all enjoy it at some point in the future. If not, we’ll have to be sure you and Beth can record it at some future date.

    1. I wish I would have had someone video it. I thought about it…just didn’t execute! it was quite a beautiful opportunity though. I so enjoyed getting to minister with Beth in this way!

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