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LAUGHTER IS MEDICINE

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Rev Andrew J Demotses

I often recall an incident in the early years of teaching my Bible study. In the course of our lesson, a lot of laughter rolled out of our classroom because of an observation made by a member of our class. Another parishioner who was passing by and heard the peals of laughter, expressed astonishment that something as somber and serious as a Bible study could actually be accompanied by joyful laughter and godly amusement. It was as if faith and happiness were somehow mutually exclusive!

Laughter is a precious gift to life, and it is wonderful when we can see and enjoy the oftentimes humorous events and circumstances of our lives. It is especially wonderful when we are able to eliminate our sense of self-importance and also laugh heartily at ourselves.

The Gospel tells us that Jesus was a “man of sorrows” who wept and suffered much, but I am convinced that it is safe to say the He also found occasion to laugh. Although neither the Bible nor Tradition say so, it would be impossible to imagine someone sharing our humanity with perfection but without a sense of humor.

Of course, we can be sure that Christ never smiled at a dirty story, or laughed at someone’s sin and failure. He never made fun of people or demeaned them by ridicule or laughter. His humor always served his good purposes, as when He depicted a camel struggling to get through the eye of a needle. (Matt. 19:24).

The Book of Proverbs tells us “that a merry heart does good, like medicine” (17:22), and a sense of humor adds value to our faith by causing others to want to share in its joy and gladness.
- Rev. Andrew Demotses

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