ASL Dictionary of Religious Signs
- Benevolence, Mercy
- Hand Shape:
- "S" or "O" fist, turning into open "5".
- Keep dominant hand just above head level. Begin with closed fist, palm facing forward and away from you. Pivot hand so palm is toward you and bring your hand closer to your head, opening fingers to "5" hand before completing the sign.
- (Mnemonic Note) Represents God's mercy being showered upon us from Heaven.
- There are many different ways that people sign this. One version that was originally a sign used by people in the Lutheran church (but has become accepted by some people in other denominations) uses the "G" hand shape and begins with the hand positioned over the shoulder, fingers pointing upward; the hand is brought down in an arc to touch the body just below the opposite shoulder (See Variation 1).
A variant of this also uses the "G" hand but is signed in front of the shoulder opposite the dominant hand. It begins with the thumb side of the hand towards the body; a small clockwise circle is drawn with the index finger, finishing with the pinky side of the hand touching the body and resting slightly lower than the starting position (See Variation 2).
A regional variant used in a small area near Rochester, NY also uses the "G" hand shape. It begins with the dominant "G" hand positioned behind the other hand (held in an open "B" shape throughout the sign) at waist or stomach level.The "G" hand moves in an arc over the other hand in such a way that at the apex of the arc, the index finger is pointing upward. The arc finishes with the "G" hand fingers pointing away from the body, palm upward (See Variation 3).