The Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost

What’s funny?

A man walks into a bar. Ouch. (You were expecting something else?! 🙂 )

I have chuckled at the bulletin notice – sometimes seen on church noticeboards – ‘Don’t let worry kill you. Let the Church help.’ 🙂

No doubt we’ve heard that epistles are the wives of the apostles or about the first cricket match in the Bible? (Peter stood before the Eleven and was bold!)
Or the one about the pastor who went and played golf on Sunday morning having told his congregation he was too ill to lead the service. In a place where he wouldn’t be recognised, he teed off at the first hole and a gust of wind carried the ball all the way to the green and landed in the hole. A 500 yard hole in one! An angel looked at God and asked, ‘Why did you do that?’. And God smiled and replied, ‘Who’s he going to tell?’.

What do you find funny? (I look forward to hearing your answers. 🙂 )

Humour is about the unexpected, the surprise, the ‘aha’, and we all like to laugh – but not to be the object of laughter – unless we are with people who care for us – who might ‘rib’ us, help us not to take something (ourself?) too seriously – and we can do the same to them. We’ve no doubt heard that laughter can be the best medicine. But it can be a tricky thing working out humour.

Humour, also, can easily be a put-down, a betrayal, promote stereotypes, be unkind, be ex-cluding. Then humour is used to hurt. We know it when we hear it or see it – and it can be hard to challenge.

There is no record of Jesus laughing but that his words were unexpected, surprising, ‘aha’ making means, for me, that Jesus smiled and laughed and so did the people around him at times. There’s it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle … or straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel … the play with the name Peter and rock … the attraction we feel children had with Jesus … and there’s the sense that Jesus enjoyed people’s company and he certainly ate with many (akin to a wedding banquet – his disciples would fast later when he was not with them). I imagine Jesus to be ironic, memorable, confronting (at times – bursting bubbles), and also having a twinkle in his eye – because in all his communication and action, he had his hearers’ best in mind.

One of the blessings of God is that he will fill our mouth with laughter (Job 8:21a). In Ecclesi-astes we read that there is a time to weep and a time to laugh (Ecclesiastes 3:4a). With Je-sus we can smile and laugh – with a deep joy also – because he is with us and that means life has a purpose, a meaning – and that it is ultimately good. May our laughter lift people up, cheer them up, rather than pulling people down. GS