The Vocabulary of Faith 13
Humor & Laughter
Humor is actually quite present in the stories and diverse faith testimonies that have been assembled over the past 2,500 years to form the book that we call the Bible. As I read and reflect back on the stories of the Bible I have the image of a God who enjoys a good laugh, never at our expense, but who is able to laugh at the craziness of our actions and the ridiculousness of our stubbornness. Think of Sarah who refuses to believe that she will actually have a child – as God promised – laughing at the preposterous promise [Genesis -12]. Abraham falls down and laughs when he hears the promise of God [Genesis ]. Then when they do have that miracle child, they name him “Isaac” which means “he laughs” [Genesis 21:6], because she says “God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.” I wonder what they thought each time they heard or said the name of their son?
In today’s scriptures Jesus is struggling to invite people to follow him, to move beyond prejudice and comfortable routines, to authentic new ways of living together, understanding community and practicing their faith. I wonder if he laughed at the scribe (or lawyer) who refused to say the word “Samaritan” in his answer about who was the better neighbor [Luke 10:37]. Here was a man who dedicated his life to studying the laws of the Torah in order to live by them, yet refused to admit that a non-Jew might actually be doing God’s will. I wonder if Jesus laughed when he said that it’s easier for a “camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven” [Matthew ]. I wonder if Jesus laughed when the disciples, desperate to follow Jesus ask “who then can be saved?” [Matthew 19:25]. Maybe it’s only through humor that we are disarmed & become open to hearing God’s truth for us?