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God Created Laughter

by Paddy McCoy

Who in their right mind would be attracted to a depressive, doom-and-gloom religion? We’ve got to show people that the gospel isn’t about that at all!

 We stood on stage in shock and disbelief at what had just happened. Approximately 500 people stared at us, wondering how we were going to respond. After what seemed like an eternity—probably only 20 seconds—we did the only thing that seemed to make sense: we laughed.

My good friend Jackie and I did a lot of ministry together through college. We wrote skits, preached, and performed at a variety of youth events on a regular basis. In this particular instance, we’d written a spoof on daytime talk shows that focused on the labels we often put on each other, especially within the church. Labels such as conservative versus liberal and right wing versus left wing.
This particular skit had two acts. The first act was meant to be silly, shedding light on how blind we become to our use of these different labels. At the end of the first scene, and in true daytime talk show fashion, things got very dramatic and very physical as Jackie ended up throwing a glass of water in my face. We thought this would be funny, but we failed to take into account the fact that the stage we were performing on was made of tile and was well polished by the academy’s janitor.
Immediately following the water bit, we took a commercial break and ran off to the sides of the stage, Jackie to stage left and me to stage right. After a special music, our announcer came back on the microphone and 
reintroduced us as the hosts of the Nick-nack Paddy and Jackie Show. Right on cue, Jackie and I ran to meet each other in the middle of the stage, but as we neared the middle of the stage where the water was, Jackie went down flat as a board and slid. In the process of her 12-foot slide, she ended up taking out two music stands, a microphone stand, and my shin as I jumped over this oncoming train that once resembled my friend.
The crowd gasped in horror as we tried to recover. Jackie claimed to be OK, and because of the adrenaline of the moment, I had no idea my shin was bleeding. We put the stage back together and tried to pull ourselves together so we could finish the skit.
As I turned toward the audience to deliver my first line, I saw these two streak marks on the stage where Jackie’s shoes had tried to slow her skid. When I saw those marks, the only image in my head was of Jackie’s face as she went down. And though we tried to act professional and live up to the motto “the show must go on,” I couldn’t hold it in any longer. I laughed. Hard. And when I started, Jackie joined right in.
We broke character and began talking to the audience as ourselves to point out the fact that this little incident was, in fact, not planned. And despite how bad it had looked, we were OK. The moment actually allowed us to talk about how we view our God as having a great sense of humor. It was a wonderful discussion with the audience.
After the program several people came up to us and said things such as, “Thank you for handling your tragic moment with such joy” and “Wow, I wish I could laugh like that in the midst of embarrassment!” My favorite comment was, “I think God laughs a lot, and it’s what makes me enjoy Him that much more.”
God created laughter. When Sarah gave birth to Isaac, even though she was well past child-bearing years, she proclaimed, “God has brought me laughter” (Genesis 21:6, NIV).* The psalmist wrote about laughter by saying: “Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy” (Psalm 126:2, NIV). Solomon wrote that there is “a time to weep and a time to laugh” (Ecclesiastes 3:4, NIV). Jesus even promised that those who weep now will one day laugh (Luke 6:21). Oh, and did you notice that one of the fruits of the Spirit is joy (Galatians 5:22)?
As Christians we want to attract people to the gospel. In order for us to do that, the gospel has to impact our lives in such a way as to make people want what we have. Who in their right mind would be drawn to a downtrodden, depressive, doom-and-gloom religion?
I hope you can find something to smile about today, something to laugh about, something to enjoy, and that you may be able to carry that joy with you in all that you do. After all, if laughter is contagious, maybe the gospel can be too!
*Texts credited to NIV are from the Holy Bible, New International Version. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.
Padraic “Paddy” McCoy writes from College Place, Washington, where he serves as the campus chaplain at Walla Walla University. When he’s not hanging out with college students, he’s probably either at home with his wife and two children or out trying to make someone, somewhere, laugh.

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