Devotion for February 5, 2021

Thus says the Lord God to these bones: I will cause breath to enter you. and you shall live. -Ezekiel 37:5, NRSV

This past week during our Everyday Spirituality book club, Suanne and I invited participants to look up the painting "Jesus Laughing," which was created by Ralph Kozak in 1976. It is the same one pictured in this devotion. This depiction of Jesus is one few people have seen or even considered. Jesus laughing, really? We might be familiar with renditions of Jesus with children or holding a lamb, even a few remarked on Monday evening about seeing Jesus overturning the tables in the temple, and of course everyone had seen Leonardo da Vinci's famous piece The Last Supper. However, the idea of Christ laughing was and is a completely far-off consideration. 

Why, though? Being human, which God did through Jesus, means experiencing all the realities of what it means to be human. Again and again, scripture reveals the depth and breadth of Jesus' emotions. God not only empathizes with our emotions, God experiences them.

One of the participants in the book club noted that the depiction of Jesus laughing showed him fully alive and another noted he appeared to be filled with immeasurable joy. This got me thinking about when the last time I truly laughed. I am not talking about the little laughing I do when I make a pun or even the moment of laughter I get after watching a funny video. I am talking about the laughter I get that consumes me and brings tears to my eyes. The kind of laughing that not only gives me joy, but also brings me life. 

For me that laughter came last week during a phone call with my mom. We were remembering a field trip she was on with our fourth grade class and an incident that had occurred during it. By the time I got off the phone tears were streaming down my face. Justin remarked that if he did not witness the phone call he would have been worried something upset me. My mother texted me the next day that our phone call was the highlight of her day. It was mine, too. 

In Ezekiel we read that God breathes life into dry bones. I think laughter is a way of remembering God breathing life into our lives. We all need times of that all consuming laughter, which brings about true jubilation. While we laugh, I'd like to think God laughs with us. 

When is the last time you truly laughed?

Peace, Pastor Andy