Thursday, April 20, 2017

Breakfast With Vernon

It is always a pleasant experience to have breakfast with my colleague and friend, Vernon.  His subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) humor makes me laugh!  As we were leaving Sue’s Restaurant this morning after our hearty breakfast and many a laugh, Betty, one of the patrons said, “You guys are just having too much fun!”  Yes, we were having fun!  Is it possible to have too much fun, to laugh too much?  I don’t think so, especially at this stage of life.  Vernon is an octogenarian and I’m a septuagenarian. Laughter may be the best medicine for any and all things ailing us in these golden years.

St. Theresa of Avila once said, “God preserve me from people who are so spiritual that, come what may, they want to turn everything into a perfect contemplation.”  Henri Nouwen suggested in one of his books that Jesus calls his followers to a Party rather than a Funeral.  Jesus came eating and drinking and having fun (called a glutton and a wine-bibber by his foes)—enjoying an abundant life, rather than a dull one—and His call, or so it seems to me, is that we should do the same.  Have you ever thought of Jesus laughing?  Have you ever seen a painting or an icon of Jesus smiling?  Isn’t that interesting?  How we have distorted things!  Our misguided piety has caused us to suppose that Jesus was always deadly serious.  We have  missed His smile, laughter, and partying, fearing this view of Jesus would somehow appear blasphemous or sacrilegious.  What a shame?  

I cherish the remark of my neighbor, Libby, who, years ago, when I would stop on my way to the church and dance on her porch whenever I heard her playing the piano, would say, “I don’t know how you ever became a minister!”  Henry Ward Beecher once wrote:  “Grim care, moroseness, and anxiety—all this rust of life ought to be scoured off by the oil of mirth.  Mirth is God’s medicine.”  This is why I’ve always encouraged the recommendation of the writer of Ecclesiastes (8:15)—“I commend mirth.”

Dance, laugh, sing--"I am the Lord of the Dance," said He!

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