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Saturday, March 22, 2008

Laughter is Divine

I believe that laughter is the purist expression of the soul. It's spontaneous, genuine (and when not, easily detectable) and involves every part of our human anatomy when expressed with vigor. Did Christ laugh? Most assuredly; however, it is not part of scripture. Now, since I'm Catholic (by Title...More Zen Christian Barbarian in reality) this is not a problem for me. For many fundamentalist of all callings; however, it's an image of Christ that is hard to bare. It would mean that we would have to enjoy our existence, to connect to what makes us all common...our humanity. Scary stuff!

So, we run off to our nearest place of worship and take a bath in conformity instead of diversity, because diversity is being fully human. There's the rub. Christ is the only man who was fully human and fully divine. I dare say the poster boy for Unity through Diversity. Instead of embracing this divine mystery for what it is, we tend to skip the parts we don't like and emphasize those that we do. One common thread in the human Psyche is the tendency to not feel worthy. Organized religion has this chink in our armour down to a refined science, sending brain washed souls to kill and plunder under a holy banner. But, Christ came so that we might have life, joy, and have it abundantly. Don't lift him up so high on that cross that you can't relate to him anymore, his face wooden, frozen in agony like that's the only way God as man can relate to us.

When you smile at your children, laugh at that joke, feel the presence of the Divine blowing through your mind....take a look in the mirror and soak in the face of the Divine...SMILING! We will always fail miserably by denying our humanity and emphasising our divinity. We will never be holy enough, that is why Christ came. We can; however, be human enough, which is also a calling we are challenged with. Are you brave enough to answer that call? Or, are you more comfortable being silent in the pew and being told what to think, say and do? Jesus was a rebel, unpopular with the religious authorities of his day. Are you brave enough to truly follow in his footsteps? Are you brave enough to connect with the outcasts of society, dine with prostitutes, give women and children a voice, die for someone else? Can you Think, Drink, and Be Merry, like Jesus did at the wedding at Cana? (I wonder how he went to the bathroom?) This is why I am a Knight of Moleskine, Spirit and Ale and believe that we can only be Unified through our Diversity. It is fine to be solemn on Good Friday; however, my Savior was still alive that day...and remains alive every day. Joy is my battle banner, from the profane to the divine. I laugh heartily and with much gratitude because of my joy of living. It's a great gift and a wonderful way to celebrate the Divine in all things!

we are the fallible instruments of the infallible. We'll make mistakes, that's what humans do. We can choose to laugh about them or to kill over them. The great thing is, we are free to choose! This leads me to the most profound image of Christ for me: Not hanging on the cross, not the agony in the garden, not talking to women at the well (a BIG NO NO!)...but this image.

Christ bends down, he comes to our level and begins writing in the sand. He gets his hands and fingers dirty just like any man, but then he looks up and speaks the most profound words found in the Bible; "He who is without sin cast the first stone." WOW! Talk about a smack down! Jesus, getting down and dirty both figuratively and theologically, brings down centuries of sexist Mosaic law with the flip of a finger and a few well chosen words. He saves a woman who is having sex with someone other than her husband from being stoned to death. (He probably was a jerk anyway.) Now, I prefer to imagine Jesus as pictured above after this incident. Imagine the look of shock on the face of the woman, the look on the faces of the school yard bullies as they were denied "getting their rocks off", and while we're imagining...where the hell was the guy she was having sex with? Yes, we've come a long way baby, but we still have a long way to go.

So take it from this errant knight who has survived being stabbed, heart by pass surgery and a broken back, life is short and lighten up and laugh a lot. It will do you and those around you a world of good, not to mention that laughter is a form of prayer and praise. And yes, I can be very serious, like each time I undress and see the scars all over my body. I am reminded of the scars that Christ bore for me. But then, I SMILE, because life is worth living and laughing for!

Sir Hook of Laughter from Warrick

The One whose throne is in heaven sits laughing. Psalm 2:4


  1. "Mirth is God's medicine; everybody ought to bathe in it." Orison Swett Marten

    We are all on arduous journey. How valuable it is to have a chela (disciple) -- a "laughing disciple" -- to go with up up the narrow mountain pass.

    Pilgrims traveling through extremely treacherous territory in the Himalayan mountain are assisted by such a chela who assists by laughing and singing a joyful song.

    Thank you to our own chela, Sir Hook.

    Sir Bowie of Greenbriar

  2. Okay, you're rant reminded me of this:

    Jesus was in the town square as a mob was bringing in an adultress to be stoned. When he realized what was about to happen, he called out in his Son of God voice, "LET HE WHO IS WITHOUT SIN CAST THE FIRST STONE!"

    Well, this kind of put a damper on the party; people started looking guilty and dropped their stones.

    Suddenly a baseball-sized stone came whistling in from the edge of the crowd, striking the adultress square in the forehead, shattering her skull, and dropping her dead.

    Jesus, rising to his toes, looked in the direction of the thrower and called out, "Nice arm, Mom."

  3. Thank you, Sir Hook, for a very fine post. "Joy is my battle banner". You gotta love that!

    That image of a laughing Christ is precious beyond words. And certainly Jesus, being fully God and fully human, did laugh. And tell jokes (some of His parables are pretty funny). One recalls that He was opposed as a "winebibber and friend of sinners". But did He not cry, too? There's the balance. In our calling to be fully human we will be called, at different times, to reach for both laughter and tears. The scripture calls us to "weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice". The fulcrum between the two is not always easily found. Life, as you well know, will provide plenty of opportunity for both. My Moleskine (started on the day of my father's death) contains plenty of both sorts of emotions, and everything in between. I simply cannot be in party mode all the time. If I am to rejoice I must not despise the weeping.

    Yesterday was Good Friday. It wasn't all solemn by any means. I laughed plenty and hard. My daughter is home from university and it's so good to have her here. Spring is here and my son has his skateboard out. Cool! The day even started with some sweet love of an adult nature with my wife of 22 years. She still takes my breath away with her red hair and freckles and gentle curves in all the right places ;-) But some solemn remembrance was fitting as well. Our church normally enjoys very happy, laughter filled worship. But yesterday we met for Tenebrae, the most solemn and, yes, "sad" service of the year. Tomorrow is Easter, Resurrection Sunday. At church we will sing and laugh and eat chocolate and ring bells. This is our more normal attitude. We like to define the Christian life as "living under the Smile". Jesus' smile. This is a good life. We have so much to be grateful for, so much to rejoice in. But I would suggest that those who rejoice best are those who know when to mourn and be solemn. Doesn't the scripture say "There is a time for everything under heaven... a time to mourn and a time to laugh"

    Have a blessed Easter.

    - Sir Richard of Montreal, joining you under the battle banner of Joy