My husband sometimes wonders why we have no stories in which Jesus laughs, and it's one of the things that makes him, serious though he is himself, take Jesus less seriously. How could be be fully anything without laughing? Even the solemn Pure Luck laughs out loud occasionally (especially when people sample Moxie in his presence, right, MB?).
At Y1P, it's traditional that the pastors receive "gifts" culled from the donations to the Pink Pachyderm portion of the Clam Festival, and my colleague now has three year's worth of Jesus-related tributes in his office. One is a laughing Jesus. I tried to find the image on Google and mostly found things that make his laughter terrifying.
But I think a lot of his storytelling must have been based in humor so contextual that we just don't get it, the humor people suffering under oppression share with one another because being humorless ultimately doesn't help. And wouldn't you need a sense of humor to lead those disciples for three years? I suppose I see his humor as dry, more a wink and a nudge than a guffaw.
This morning I'm reflecting on God's sense of humor. I really enjoy Interim Ministry, which of course is all about transitions. But I'm finding, once again, my own transition to be difficult, sad, a little painful. I've left three churches since January 2007. I've learned three new congregations. I'll be with the current one for less than another year. No sooner do I arrive than it's time to update my profile, renew my background check and begin to consider what's next.
Meanwhile at home, I've lived in the same house for 11 years. I've managed to provide stability for my children, who have grown up here and started to grow away, too. I love our quiet street, the trees around our house, the things I see when I get to the corner and turn right or left into the busier world. I wonder how much longer I can continue in this work from this home base?
Since the RA diagnosis last year, I've thought a lot about stress and chronic illness and the relative desirability of more settled employment. I've weighed those things against all the stresses related to a geographic move, and the desire to have my daughter finish school where she started, and the complications of a two household family. I've struggled with the fear that I will run out of possible jobs, although that is probably needless. There are always churches in transition, and I like to think I do this job well.
This morning I'm considering the ways my life seems destined to be at least until LP finishes high school: a string of jobs, a host of new people to learn and fond goodbyes to be said, the continuation of Pure Luck's life on the road for up to half the year, the wondering about what the future will hold. These form a pretty funny spiritual lesson for a mildly anxious gal at midlife who still contemplates her abandonment issues and hates to think of abandoning others. These form a pretty funny lesson in trust.
Do I believe in a laughing Jesus? Maybe he laughs when we finally get the joke.