This Sunday is one of my favorite Sundays—Holy Humor Sunday. Now we don’t do this every year, but it seemed very appropriate to have some light hearted fun in church, given that we have had some heaviness in the larger life of the church, with many different people having struggles with health, loss, and other personal challenges. I think it is very important for us to balance our journey of faith between the weighty and the light-hearted, so this is a good week to do that.
What is Holy Humor Sunday, you ask? It isn’t on any lectionary (that I know of), but it is a tradition that has started in many mainline churches recognizing the greatest joke ever played—the one that Christ has played on death! So we spend the Sunday after Easter celebrating humor in our faith. Let’s face it, we are tempted to think that faith and religion are things that are meant to be taken seriously and should always be approached with a somber tone. Luckily in this congregation we don’t get too carried away with that. But it is always a helpful reminder to us not to take ourselves too seriously and to have a sense of humor about our walk with God and with each other.
Many of you may have stopped by my office in the past and noticed the cabinet of religious kitsch. I have always had great appreciate for ways in which we can approach our faith with joy and humor, and so there is a kind of altar to silliness and faith just outside my door. It contains everything from Nunzilla to Last Supper Lunch Boxes, Magnetic Jesus paper dolls to humorous cards, and silly bumper stickers proclaiming “Jesus Loves you, but I’m his favorite” to Jeez-Its (Cute post its with Jesus’ quotes on them). Over the years, my collection has grown, and I always have my eye out for more absurdities that had some joviality to the journey of faith.
Perhaps the reason I find this so important is that my experience has been the moments when we take ourselves to seriously are the moments where we find ourselves wandering the furthest from God. Thus the scripture this week of the Pharisee and the sinner praying. When we start to think of ourselves in lofty ways, we tend to forget our place in the natural order of things.
So this week, come prepared to laugh. Come prepared to take God seriously, but maybe not yourself. Come ready to enjoy your journey of faith, and we will have some fun!