Lord’s Day Musings 121707

For the nitpicker, this piece should be entitled, Lord’s Day Musings 121607. I was engaged in several activities Sunday afternoon, and it took me a while to collect my thoughts, so I’m writing a day late.

I mentioned last time that my post on Lord’s Day Musings was there to whet your appetite. Here is more of palatable tidbits to make your God-ward stomachs rumble.

First, a psalm to put us in the right frame of mind:



(ESV) Psalm 150:1-6 Praise the LORD! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens! Praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him according to his excellent greatness! Praise him with trumpet sound; praise him with lute and harp! Praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and pipe! Praise him with sounding cymbals; praise him with loud clashing cymbals! Let everything that has breath praise the LORD! Praise the LORD!


My beloved M commented in my last post that my being distracted from worship followed a certain routine. To quote her comment, I go from “1) seat near the piano, 2) office, and 3) overhead projector. As an added bonus, you’ll sometimes see him giving last minute, special request announcements.” If you’re interested, following 1-2-3 takes me on a path that’s an almost equilateral triangle. That last sentence has absolutely no worth, but I put it in just for kicks.

Anyway, M’ll be happy to know that yesterday was a relatively mild Sunday for me, in terms of  things I need to do that takes my focus away from God. I did not go the 1-2-3 route since I was the translator. The church choir had a Christmas cantata, which was very good. We had part three of our exchange gifts with the Sunday School kids, which went relatively well. (There were a lot of unclaimed gifts, because we had less students this week than last.)

So did I feel satisfied with my worship this past Sunday. No.

Hold that thought.

On a brighter (but not necessarily better) note, here are a few of my observations from the pulpit as I did my best in translating:

  • Translating is very much a lot like singing. Everybody can sing (we’re talking ability here), but not everybody can sing well. Some sing well because they’re what we call natural-born singers (or just born singers). Some of them can belt powerful tunes at age six that they become the subject of reincarnation documentaries. Others are not natural singers but they are good, and get better with practice. I’m not a natural translator.  I don’t have the “gift” like some people do. Doesn’t mean I won’t do my best.
  • Mobile phones will always ring in church, even if you’ve gone out of your way to tell people that mobile ringing tunes and church service don’t mix.
  • This may sound strange, but there are times when I can’t hear the speaker, and he’s less than a foot away!
  • People have commented that I frown a lot while translating. I’m not making excuses, but it’s kind of hard to smile when you’re listening to the speaker, taking in what he just said in Chinese, translate that into English inside your head, and then give the grammatically correct equivalent, all at the same time. I’ve seen people try it – the pasted smile makes them look stupid.

I just posted some random thoughts, so please forgive me if they don’t make collective sense.

Finitum non capax infinitum. Or is it infiniti?


3 thoughts on “Lord’s Day Musings 121707”

  1. *I’ve seen people try it – the pasted smile makes them look stupid.*

    Let’s not be too harsh on others. Yes, they may look stupid, but we have to give them credit: it may just be a nervous smile. I, myself, am part of the choir, and we are told to smile when we sing. First of all, it’s hard to smile when 1) some people in the congregation looks bored out of their minds, 2) you haven’t memorized all the lyrics, 3) you’re uncomfortable standing in front, and 4) you know that it’s a poignant song.

    Let’s give the other translators credit, even if they have a pasted smile on, for stepping up to the plate and serving God by making it easier for others to understand the message.

    *PS Don’t put on a pasted smile. If you do decide to smile, make it a sincere one, so that it won’t make you look stupid.

  2. Now that i think about it, i can’t name one translator in our church who smiles (except when the speaker makes a joke or something) during the hard work. most just try to not frown, but you can tell they’re really concentrating on not missing what the speaker is saying.

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