Holy Laughter

December 10, 2012

Psalm 126:1–2

"When the Lord changed Zion's circumstances for the better, it was like we had been dreaming. Our mouths were suddenly filled with laughter . . ."

Reflection by Anthony B. Robinson

I love this verse from today's psalm, "Our mouths were suddenly filled with laughter . . ."

Years ago Peter Berger, a sociologist with theological propensities, described humor as a "signal of transcendence," that is, something that points to God. Here's Berger: "By laughing at the imprisonment of the human spirit, humor implies that this imprisonment is not final but will be overcome, and by this implication provides yet another signal of transcendence - in this instance in the form of an intimation of redemption."

I'm not completely sure I understand that, but I like it. And I like the image, from the Psalm, of "mouths filled with laughter." And I like Berger's idea that laughter, at least at times, is an intimation of redemption.

My friend, Martin Copenhaver, is fond of saying, "God gets the last word," which is surely good news. But I wonder if we might also say, "God gets the last laugh." In other words, the destructive and imprisoning powers that often seem so terrifyingly ultimate - violence, illness, poverty, fear and death - aren't, not really. God is. When we laugh, we get that. When we get that, we laugh.

Our mouths are filled with laughter because, despite all, God is God, and God gets the last laugh.

Prayer

Sometimes, Holy One, in this dark and hectic time of the year our spirits grow heavy. Grant us, this day, the gift of laughter. Amen.

About the Author
Anthony B. Robinson, a United Church of Christ minister, is a speaker, teacher and writer. His newest book is Called to Lead: Paul's Letters to Timothy for a New Day, and he is also the author of the just-published Book of Exodus: A God is still speaking Bible Study. Read his weekly reflections on the current lectionary texts at www.anthonybrobinson.com by clicking on Weekly Reading.

Join Tony Robinson on Christmas Eve, Dec. 24, at 6 p.m. EST on weekly web program Darkwood Brew, in their special Advent series based on Hark!

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