THERE’S much irony in our existence. Soren Kierkegaard said “the most thoroughly and substantially a human being exists, the more he will discover the comical’’.
The paths that God chooses for us bend and wind in ways we can never expect. And sometimes, when we think we are lost, a signpost appears.
As the old Yiddish proverb states: We plan and God laughs.
It’s easy to buy into the false stereotype of a Jesus who was always sad, pious, mild in manner, endlessly patient, grave in speech and serious almost to the point of dourness.
Yet, Jesus often deflated pomposity with humour. Jesus did not fit the pattern of what people expected a holy man to be like. He was, among other things, the Lord of Laughter.
Jesus pictures the legalistic Pharisees as fastidious diners, doing their best to strain a gnat from their soup, but swallowing a whole camel in the process.
For his first miracle, He doesn’t end a war or poverty, or even heal someone. Instead Jesus spikes the punch at a wedding.
He was a master storyteller; with a robust gift for words. The Bible speaks often of Jesus gathering children around him. It was surely a combination of love, compassion and some humor that endeared Jesus to the kids.
The disciple Peter sees Jesus walking on water and wants to do the same. Jesus encourages him to walk out of a boat, telling him, it just takes faith.
Then Peter loses faith and falls into the water. It’s pure slapstick. You can imagine Jesus laughing as he pulls Peter back into the boat.
Jesus tells of a man who leaves 99 sheep by themselves so he can hunt for one. It’s funny because it seems so silly, but the silliness is that of unconditional love. He tells of a father who gives half his fortune to a good-for-nothing kid who throws it all away. It’s a joke, but the biggest laugh is that it doesn’t matter in the end. The father still loves his child..