Sunday, June 13, 2010

Jesus, Laughing

In two weeks, our Consulting Minister is leaving for a new ministry in Cape Cod. Today, she delivered her last sermon to our congregation. Among other words of wisdom and humor, she encouraged us as a congregation to play more, to laugh together. In essense, she said that, of course, our groups and teams--all poised for social action, spiritual exploration, or ministry--are wonderful and needed. But groups of people who work together, live together and love together also need to laugh together.

Immediately I thought of the DeColores Christian renewal weekend I attended 10 years ago. The leader of the weekend had picked the portrait of Jesus Laughing as the weekend's guiding image and theme. There were women at the weekend who balked at the image. To them Jesus was laughing AT them--for their faults, for their failures, for who they were. During the weekend, we supported each other to see the image as the leader intended--as Jesus laughing WITH us. In joy for our presence. In happiness for who we are and the potential of whom we can become.

I remember reading somewhere in the works about the historical Jesus, that the Bible has hints that Jesus liked a good party. He was always having a meal with friends, new and old, visiting, talking, and--I have no doubt--laughing. You do not weep at the news of a friend's death, as Jesus did for Lazarus, unless you have shared tears AND laughter with that person.

In our world, I'm sure you'll agree, we need more laughter among us, among groups, among nations.

I know some of you are facing troubles. I know some of you are celebrating joys. In troubles, find a way to laugh through the tears, not to minimize the sorrow, but to remind yourself of the sweet in life. Laugh with life's joys in full appreciation of the blessings you've been given.

Laughter strenghtens relationships. Laughter relieves stress. Laughter heals.

Today, laugh a little with Jesus. He'd have enjoyed that.