Athlete, Laugh with Sarah
Genesis 21:6 (NIV)
Sarah said, “God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.”
I recently watched a YouTube video of clips of Major League Baseball players joking with their friends during Major League games.
In one, Erick Aybar snuck up behind Albert Pujols and messed with his bald head. It took Pujols a few seconds to realize what was going on, then he chased Aybar through the crowded dugout and splashed him with water.
In another one, when Jesús Aguilar was a baserunner on second base, he grabbed the much smaller second baseman, Ozzie Albies, by the collar with both hands and nearly picked him up, then smiled at him.
Holy, holy, holy is the Lord. What comes to mind when you hear that? Perhaps, you hear something like serious, serious, serious is the Lord. Serious as in devoid of humor with no room for messing around.
As a result, maybe we think holiness and humor can’t go together. But the Scriptures make the case that God has room for sacred and consecrated silliness.
God often does things that seem like folly. God chooses the weak to shame the strong. God confounds the wise with foolishness.
God calls things that are not as though they were. He defeated death by death. He calls you and me saints.
God chose Israel, a tiny sliver of land (263 miles across) out of a vast creation to be the means to bring redemption to the cosmos. God chose Sarah to give birth to Isaac when she was around 90 years old.
The relationship between Jesus and His disciples was laden with laughable events.
For instance, several days after Jesus rose from the dead, early one morning the disciples were fishing, but not catching anything. Jesus was on the shore, about a football field away, so the disciples didn’t recognize Him.
Then Jesus yelled loudly, probably leaving space between His words, so they could hear over the slapping of the waves and breeze, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?”
I picture Jesus chuckling after He asked. The disciples were probably wondering who that guy was and why he cared. Perhaps annoyed, they yelled back, “No.”
Then Jesus yelled to them, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” They probably thought, “Who is this smart aleck?” But they did as He said and caught a large number of fish.
When they got to the shore, they saw a fire of burning coals with fish on it and fresh bread. We might be quick to assume Jesus pulled the bread out of thin air. But maybe He picked a loaf out at a market or bought wheat and barley and baked it at someone’s house.
Maybe Jesus was sitting on driftwood hunched over, moving the coals with a stick, His stomach growling with hunger, when He said, “Come have breakfast.”
Jesus was having fun with His disciples. Those stories don’t mean Jesus was cluelessly appearing playful, but that they reveal God’s comical nature.
Athlete, do you have a friend who seems unique and takes pride in being a comedian or contrarian? I suggest you do. It’s Jesus.
With all props in place, God’s choices are offbeat. The orthodox God is unorthodox.
What does it mean to be made in the image of an unconventional God?
It means we partake in something holy when we share in His sense of humor. It means that when we find something hilarious, we aren’t wrong to feel like it’s sacred and precious.
It means humor is a weighty theological matter, not an unspiritual side dish. It means that part of being God’s image bearer – which is a holy and serious honor – is to be humorous.
Presumably, God laughed with Sarah. Maybe, they still laugh about it. Will we join in their laughter?