Friday, June 16, 2023

Why Stop Laughing?

One of my granddaughters has been in Israel performing with the chorale from her university. The other day I asked her if she had gone swimming in the Sea of Galilee yet. I told her about the time Becky and I were staying at a youth hostel in Capernaum, right on the Sea of Galilee. One day there suddenly descended upon the lake a massive storm, barreling down from the Arbela Pass. Within minutes, the lake had gone from snorkeling conditions to a massive tempest. What did Becky and I do? We jumped in the water and began body-surfing! Never had frolicking in water been more enjoyable. 

By the way, I've never seen a picture of Jesus and his disciples swimming in the Sea of Galilee, have you? Why, this is the HOLY land! This is the place where Jesus walked on water and where he performed some of his greatest miracles. This is not the place for splashing around.

I'm not so sure. Can't you see Philip dunking dour old Thomas? I can. Or James diving off his brother John's shoulders? Or Jesus splashing water at Nathaniel and Nathaniel splashing him back? Not infrequently I have to tell my Greek students to lighten up a bit. I'll remind them that we're training them to be overseers, not undertakers. I remind them that Jesus was a man of unparalleled joy. In fact, Psalm 45:7 is describing Jesus when it says, "God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions." Little wonder his dour, sad-faced opponents often accused him of having too much fun (Luke 7:34). 

One of my kids and I love to play pranks on each other. We both have a severe dislike for Paul McCartney's song "Simply Having a Wonderful Christmas Time." In fact, we can't stand the song. Hence we always try to be the first to send the other a video clip of this song at Christmas time! 

We humans love to laugh. Even animals love to tease and play with each other. Just ask any farmer. If you have no problem laughing at yourself, you'll have no problem with being pranked. William Hendricksen translates Phil. 4:5 as, "Let your bigheartedness be known to all men." I love that. It's good advice for a man who's about 8/10ths done here on earth. For me, life has become one rich and varied season after the other. I am not old, just older. I have not stopped enjoying life. I have too wonderful (and funny) a family for me to ever do that. That's why I totally agree with George Bernard Shaw when he said, "You don't stop laughing when you grow old. You grow old when you stop laughing."