The kingdom of God is full of joy, laughter and celebration. This is something we should always be seeking to embody in our communities, but especially in how we reach out to others.
I once performed an event for a group of church leaders on their annual retreat. As I started the show, I began bantering with a couple of audience members, which caused some light-hearted, hilarious comeback from the audience. An encouraging start for a self-proclaimed comedian.
All was going well until I turned to a man who, for now, we shall name Reverend Earnest (the name means ‘serious’ – in this case, it was extreme).
It would appear that Reverend Earnest was participating in his own staring contest, where one is not allowed to smile, laugh or indeed respond verbally in any way. He simple stared me out on every question I asked him. I, however, wasn’t playing his game. I had a show to deliver.
We serve a God who celebrates the lost when they return. A God who promises that His joy will become our strength in difficult times.
Throughout the next five minutes I tried to humorously break his drooped face and shed some light on his never revealed set of teeth, but he wasn’t having it. He was simply determined to hold it in.
Even when we face hard times, as Christians, we have access to a joy that goes beyond our circumstances. A joy that is greater than any other. We serve a God who celebrates the lost when they return. A God who promises that His joy will become our strength in difficult times. Laughter is simply the overflow of that joy.
Somewhere along the line we have lost this deep, overflowing joy.
Laughter breaks down barriers, diffuses tension, and opens people to healthy conversation.
When non-Christians attend some of our churches, there seems to be an expected behaviour of old, that we must not be too expressive of joy, but rather solemn and serious. In the same way that laughing around my leaders, parents or friends doesn’t dismiss their significance in my life, I’d say being full of joy doesn’t dismiss or belittle the reverence of God – it simply celebrates the grace He has shown us.
So when it comes to sharing faith with our friends, let’s be sure that we are displaying the joy of the Lord in our friendship with them.
Laughter breaks down barriers, diffuses tension, and opens people to healthy conversation. Therefore, let’s not take ourselves too seriously, let’s share our testimony with good humour, and speak of God’s goodness to us with a smile on our face.
I want to belong to a church that expresses this overflow of joy in both our inwardly and outwardly focused events and services. Let’s play our part in cultivating the joy of the Lord among our relationships within the church family and beyond.
This joy will draw people, because it's a deeper and an everlasting joy that transcends even challenging circumstances and seasons.
My prayer is that the Church wouldn’t dwindle on the basis that we are perceived as too serious, but that people would first see the joy of the Lord expressed in and through His Church. This joy will draw people, because it’s a deeper and an everlasting joy that transcends even challenging circumstances and seasons.
Perhaps they will know we are His disciples by the way we love (and therefore laugh with) each other.