Humor is, in fact, a prelude to faith; and laughter is the beginning of prayer … Laughter is swallowed up in prayer and humor is fulfilled by faith.~ Reinhold Niebuhr* 1892-1971
I read once that, if Christianity is so wonderful, why do Christians often look as though they're sucking lemons? Especially in this penitential season of Lent, some of us might be taking it all so seriously that we miss the lightness, the joy, and yes, the humor in life as a Christian. Had a good laugh lately? Start with a smile...
there's so much about my relationship with you that I've been taught should be quiet, restrained, sober, and even meek. I've memorized "The Don't List" - don't do this, don't do that...even though there have been times when I have done a little of the don'ts...but now that I think about it, surely You had fun with friends, enjoyed a good dinner, and even laughed out loud. I'm starting to realize that I might be less likely to do things on the don't list if I lighten up and experience the wonder of the gift that Your life has given me. For today, I'll give up feeling deprived in Lent. I'll take on finding one thing to laugh out loud about that is good-spirited, delightful, and soul satisfying. I'll pray a thanksgiving for the living legacy of Faith that fills me with eagerness to be a happier reflection of life with You. amen.
*Reinhold Niebuhr was an American theologian, ethicist, and professor at Union Theological Seminary in New York City for more than 30 years. Two of his most influential books are Moral Man and Immoral Society and The Nature and Destiny of Man. Along with an extensive biography and body of work, Niebuhr was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1964, the highest US civilian award. After working with labor and working classes, in 1944 he wrote The Children of Light and the Children of Darkness in which he said, "Man's capacity for justice makes democracy possible; but man's inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary." His theo-philosophical perspective became known as Christian Realism. Niebuhr is best known for his "Serenity Prayer" although most often it is only the first few lines that people know. Following is the complete text as he is said to have written it:
- Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
Taking, as Jesus did,
This sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it,
Trusting that You will make all things right,
If I surrender to Your will,
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,
- And supremely happy with You forever in the next.
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