Skip to main content

thou shalt laughest



"it is pleasing to the dear God whenever thou rejoicest or laughest from the bottom of thy heart."
 -martin luther. 

"take time to laugh; it is the music of thy soul." 
-from an old english prayer book

if it is true, as martin luther said, that "you have as much faith as you have laughter," then my faith has been strong recently, or at least abundant.

because i have been laughing my rear end off.

i love to laugh, i really do, and i will probably agree with any study - scientific or not - that indicates that laughing increases productivity or longevity or accidental urination.  its all true in my opinion:  laughing is really good.

still, sometimes i struggle with laughter.  while i laugh, i wonder about those who cannot laugh.  those who are abandoned, abused, traded and used.  i think of those who do not moan with laughter but with hunger pangs, with grief, and with despair.  there are so many times when my laughter - as genuine and healthy as it is - echoes thin in the distance as i hear it bounce off other places where joy and mirth are nearly unknown.

i can't call it catholic guilt, since i was never catholic, but i will instead call it a healthy worldview.  i understand that the world doesn't exist to make me laugh (a mistake that i think many americans seem to make these days).  i understand that my laughter isn't the only song my soul needs to sing.  i understand that the world needs my tears, my hands, my words of hope, my firm stand, and sometimes even the sound of my nailing my non-negotiables on the door of the church, like that laughing luther before me.  the world is not a farce.  but the farcical helps us see the world, understand the world, and change the world, by taking ourselves less seriously, and remembering that we are all human.

in other words:  laughter is not everything, but it is really something.  something necessary.  something beautiful.  something faithful, even.  finding the courage to laugh can be a litmus test of our hope: that deep inside of us we believe that the terrible brokenness is only a shadow in the end.  we can laugh because we know about victory and life.  hope leads to laughter.

i say all of this about laughter today, because i have been laughing a great deal lately.  shannon and i have been watching a show called "impractical jokers" on a channel called tru tv (which i didn't even know we had).  it features four life-long friends from new jersey who put one another in ridiculous and embarrassing situations in public.  and it is hilarious.  watching this show is a full-body workout for me.  at the end of the 23 minutes, i am sore from laughing so hard; my hand is bruised from pounding it on the coffee table; my children are awake because i've been stomping uncontrollably, and i can barely breath because i've launched into a asphyxiated coughing fit.  in other words: it is hilarious.

look it up on you tube.  impractical jokers.  but be prepared to hurt for awhile.  don't say i didn't warn you. and if luther was right, you can thank me for helping strengthen your faith.  and remember: laughing is incredibly good for you.  but it isn't the only thing.  let's laugh and cry together.  let's play and work together.  let's experience all the goodness of this very good creation together, not just for us, but for everyone.  peace.



Comments

Mary said…
impractical jokers seriously is the best! I thought I was going to go into labor when we were watching it over Christmas break!! Sal is my favorite! :o) We don't get that channel but I'll have to check it out on youtube to see if we can watch some of it.
i think youtube has clips, but i haven't seen full episodes. i am getting 6-pack abs from laughing at that show! haha!

Popular posts from this blog

#thoughtsandprayers

i made these comments and prayed the following prayer at one of our worship services at SPWF yesterday, and had a few folks asked if i would post them, so there they are: 
It has been a season of terrible tragedy.  And I have noticed in the news a trending phrase: thoughts and prayers.  It even has its own hashtag on twitter and other social media, but net necessarily in a good way.  People are understandably tired of hearing about others’ thoughts and prayers, when that is only a thinly-veiled way of saying that our only obligation to those who suffer is a brief moment of silence, or nothing more than a tweet or public statement.  The truth is that, for those of us who follow Jesus, much is required when our neighbors suffer.  We are called to do justice where we can, to love kindness and mercy, and to walk with God through it all.  But let us be careful not to throw out the proverbial baby with the bathwater.  We are, as people of faith, those who know that prayer is not simply an em…

a divided tree

there is a tree in my back yard.  i'm pretty sure it's an oak tree.  at least that's what i think Shannon told me.  i don't know my oaks from my maples, my elms from my locusts.  to me, it's a tree: a corinthian column bursting up into life and glory.  full of sap and pulp and rings and bugs and cells pulsing with water and always reaching for something.  it is full of rhythm, reach and flourish then fall and die, and repeat. 

this particular tree, though, isn't of one mind. 

half of it's rusted orange leaves have given up their grip and surrendered -gracefully or not - to the pull of gravity and the threat of winter.  the north side of this inauspicious oak is just about bare naked, all sticks and straight lines, a skeleton of itself.  but the side that looks south is stubbornly resisting change.  no longer green, the leaves have compromised their summer vibrancy, but they are clearly not ready to concede death just yet. 

i feel like i can relate to this …

vote. and pray. but do not be afraid (the King is alive).

i'm not sure how many americans right now are feeling optimistic about the government.  i know i'm not.  in fact, while i didn't live through the civil war or anything, i have to think that faith in our elected leaders - indeed the whole system of electing them in the first place - is at one of its lowest points.  i just don't have a great deal of confidence in those individuals who have been elected, or in those who want to be.  i find myself slipping at times into what feels like a swamp of apathy: sinking, to be sure, but not sure that i care enough anymore to do much about it.  i see this attitude all around me: in conversations, on social media, and in popular culture.  perhaps there is no more clear indication of our nation's view of the government than this current election season, when we would teeter on electing liars and thieves, crooks and clowns. 

which is why i was so startled as i sat down to read psalm 72 this morning. as i read the ancient song, i…