Have you ever wondered what sends Jesus into fits of laughter? The kind of laughter that hurts? The convulsing kind of laughter that leaves him in tears, barely able to get a hold of himself? That’s my favorite kind.
I am thinking of the time that my brother and I were in our little country church, Chapmanville Community Church. I think it was some sort of special service like the Easter Cantata. The church was unusually full. The only place left to sit was the front row. So we slid in. It wasn’t long before the service was underway. Part of the program included a time of congregational singing. We fumbled around and found our hymnals. None were close by–they were way down at the end of the pew. We began singing. Halfway into the first verse, we heard a sharply dissonant voice behind us. An older man with a loud, unable to carry a tune voice, was singing with gusto. Kenny and I glanced at each other as if to ask, “Do you hear what I hear?”
A smirk crept onto his face.
His eyes sparkled with laughter.
I began shaking.
Couldn’t keep the hymnal steady.
Tears streamed down my face.
The harder I tried to shut my mouth and concentrate on the song the more violently I shook. As Kenny observed me, he too began to shake. We were the Shakers. He couldn’t help but crack a smile. All the worse for me. We tried so desperately to contain ourselves because, in an unspoken sense of understanding, we sought to protect the choir from the wrong idea, from thinking we were laughing at them. At the same time, we didn’t want to shame the fellow behind us, although he was fueling our convulsions. After what seemed like an eternity, I finally decided that I’d better make a run for it. I bolted to the restroom. I left during the last few verses of the hymn, in full view of the choir, wiping my eyes as I escaped. My face hurt from clenching my jaw and stifling my grin. I left Kenny to fend for himself in his efforts at self-composure.
As I fondly remember that occasion, and others like it where Kenny’s knowing glance incited uncontrollable laughter, I can’t help but think that God laughs like that.The triune God laughs uncontrollably. After all, we’re made in his image. His is a frequent deep laughter.
I am sure that while on earth, Jesus laughed frequently and heartily at the stories told as he and the disciples lay around crackling campfires while staring up into the silent universe of stars. I am sure he laughed at some of the antics of those who tried to best the Roman soldiers. We know that Jesus was funny, as he humorously communicated deep truths about the splinter and logs in our eyes and about judging others.
Laughter is good.
God’s laughter is a mystery.
God’s laughter is reality.
He is full of joy.
May your life and my life be full of God’s laughter and joy.
What do you think God laughs at? He has the best sense of humor.