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The writings of author, therapist, and priest Robert Warren Cromey.

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Sunday, April 29, 2007

On Laughter

Sermon for Easter 4, 4/29/07 by Robert Warren Cromey
At Church of St. John the Evangelist, San Francisco.

Jesus says, “My sheep follow me.”

I wonder if Jesus was giving his opponents some insults. Who wants to be called a sheep? Who wants to be told they are sheep? Was Jesus laughing at his opponents?

It is harder for the rich to get into heaven, than for a camel to go through the eye of a needle. Stop and think about a camel trying to get through the eye of a needle. It is a joke and a pun in the Aramaic.

Laughter makes us breathe as we gasp for air when something really funny happens or is said. To breathe is to be alive. God was expressed by the ancient Hebrews as breath. We ask the Holy Spirit to breath on us, “Breathe on us breath of God” goes the old hymn.

Norman Cousins, late editor of the NY Review of Books, was dying of cancer. He found that reading humor, watching funny movies and TV relieved his pain and revived his spirits. He outlived the timeline the doctors gave him. The laughter filled his lungs with air and gave him sustenance and strength.

Humor, jokes and comedy are almost always about really important life and death issues. They make us think, give us breath and make us laugh.

On death: Woody Allen says, “I don’t want to achieve immortality through my work. I want to achieve immortality by not dying.

I don’t mind dying; I just don’t want to be there when it happens.

On the plus side, death is one of the few things that can be done just as easily lying down.

Mark Twain said “No one gets out of this life alive.”

That reminds me to mention an important pastoral issue. Have you made out your will? Do it, if you haven’t. Have you made out your burial plan? Do it so your family and friends know how too get rid of your carcass and what services you want to happen and where. God only knows what they will perpetrate on your body if you do not leave instructions. I have mine but I have to cut the number of hymns from forty to about four.

On relationships: I have read these and they do not reflect my views of marriage and relationships but I like them anyway and they make me laugh.

You have two choices in life: You can stay single and be miserable, or get a partner and wish you were dead.

80% of men cheat on their partners in the USA, the rest cheat in Canada.

If you want your partner to listen and pay strict attention to every word you say, talk in your sleep.

Marriage is the triumph of imagination over intelligence.

Jesus said we are to become like little children in order to enter the kingdom of God.

Some kids were asked what you do on your first date?
“On the first date they tell each other lies that usually get them interested enough to go for a second date.” Martha age 10

When is it OK to kiss someone?

When they are rich. Pam age 7,

On ageing: Anne Lamott who writes humorously on religious and personal matters worries about her looks as she gets older.

She says she has cellulite that would make Jesus weep.

Lamott wears her hair in dreadlocks, as it has always been unruly. As she sees her face in the mirror she says, “I worry that I’ll start looking like Richard Nixon in dreadlocks.”

Lamotte worries a lot. She writes, “Sometimes I think Jesus watching my neurotic struggles must clasp his forehead and start tossing back mojitos.”

She quotes a Vedanta saying, “And may the free make others free.” Only the free can truly laugh. I never saw a slave, a capitalist or communist laugh. They are very serious people.

We in the church are concerned for healing. We all go to the doctor to get well.

The doctor gave a man six months to live. The man said he couldn’t pay his bill, so the doctor gave him six more months.

The doctor called Sam saying, “Your check came back.”
Sam said, “So did my arthritis.”

The doctor says, “You’ll live to be 60.”
“I am 60.”
“See, what did I tell you.”

War, massacre, racism, sexism, poverty, homelessness and global warming. Not much that is funny about all that.

The good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ is that resurrection and new life are always our hope and strength, a very help in time of trouble.

Jesus laughed. Most depictions of Jesus show him serious, sorrowful, in pain and death. I have seen some images of Jesus laughing, not many. But Jesus laughed, he was a human being. He saw the pain and absurdity of the world.

When we laugh, we open ourselves to the indwelling of the breath of God, the Holy Spirit. When we laugh we keep our self-righteousness and ourselves in check. When we laugh we are open to new life.

Laughter is a grace, a free undeserved gift from God. We do not earn our laughter, we are given it.

The cliché is” laugh and the world laughs with you, cry and you cry alone.” In the church we need not cry alone, we can cry in community, in a place of love and caring, and in the end we laugh and the community laughs with us.


Blogger MICKY said...

Three years ago I was wandering around [mental hospital] completely shattered physically, emotionally and spiritually. The mental torment I was experiencing was absolutely terrifying. Every waking second, I was having horrifying images from my past. I thought I was being punished for my past sins. My whole life flashed before my eyes and I felt I had failed miserably in my journey through life. The whole experience was an awakening [THE LONG DARK NIGHT OF THE SOUL] a metamorphosis. God was slowly penetrating the shield I had put up all those desperate years. I had no "I" - that is what God wanted for me, to become Christ centered, not “I” centered [in retrospect]. There is nothing in this world, but the saving grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. He eventually delivered from my HELL; when I got down on my knees and asked for mercy and forgiveness for my sins. Praise the LORD!!

5:31 AM  

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