Bomb in Madrid → 200 dead. We reel in despair about violence (or at least the bits
where we hurt)! ‘The Passion’ is a film notorious for gratuitous violence and yet
Christians are falling over themselves to embrace it. Funny old world.
During the last month we launched the ‘Evidence’ to examine the meaning of
life, to bring hope, to understand forgiveness, and to reconcile our souls to suffering
and a loving God. Next month we will be raising funds to address the needs of a
suffering world through ADRA, yet some are bemused at the relevance of these programs.
Funny old world.
I have listened to numerous sermons during the last month on the new satellite options.
I confess culture shock and despair from some dire manifestations of our faith and
others that almost inspire me to seek truth and charisma in Analytic Chemistry! Which
face of Christianity is appropriate? What makes the difference? Funny old world.
An Army General noted that there were no atheists in foxholes but plenty of humourists!
Bonhoeffer wrote from prison how humour sustains Christian faith in adversity. Karl
Barth noted shortly before his death that ‘good theology should always be done cheerfully
and with a good sense of humour’! Helmut Thielicke observed that the ‘message, which
resides in humour and from which it lives, is the proclamation of overcoming the
world’. Reinhold Niebuhr begins to sum up his views on the topic as follows:
“The intimate relation between humour and faith is derived from the fact that both
deal with the incongruities of our existence. Humour is concerned with the immediate,
faith with the ultimate. Both are expressions of the freedom of the human spirit,
of its capacity to stand outside of life and view the whole scene….Laughter is our
reaction to immediate incongruities and those which do not affect us essentially.
Faith is the only possible response the ultimate incongruities of existence which
threaten the very meaning of our life…..”
When infants play ‘peek a boo’ they become anxious over the disappearance of a parent,
and are relieved with laughter at sudden reappearance (the parousia). Laughter indicates
the recognition that in the end ‘everything will be ok’. Those of us who live in
hope through faith, who trust in Christ’s return should recognise more of life’s
incongruities as temporal. We are better able to express the joy of the gospel because
we live for a time when ‘the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with
them and they shall be his people…no more tears… death or suffering… for these will
have passed away’.
Thank you for your part in bringing reassurance, joy and laughter to a suffering
world. May God continue to bless your cheerful service, for ‘the Evidence’ of ‘The
Passion’ is within us.
“I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his
people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be
He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow
or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.”