If you know me, you know I love to laugh.
I love to be around people who make me laugh, and I love to be the one who makes other people laugh.
I have always felt a bit sacrilegious about this.
I mean, laughter feels like the opposite of what you were supposed to do in church when you were a kid, right? You were supposed to be quiet, polite, a good listener to the adults who were speaking, bowing your head when others prayed, etc.
You were never told: "You know the one thing you should do in the presence of God? Laugh!!"
But, wait a minute ...
Did you know that Karl Barth (1886-1968) - arguably one of the world's most serious theologians, a preacher so threatening to the powers that be that he was expelled from Hitler's Germany in 1935 - said this?
"Laughter is the closest thing to the grace of God."
Just typing that makes me smile.
From the depths of theological study, from the depths of a culture in which threat and violence gathered like storm clouds, Barth cites human laughter as the closest thing we have to the grace of God.
And Barth is not alone. More theologians on laughter in the coming posts. Again, I smile just typing that.
But for now, just know this: As long as your laughter is not at the expense of another human created in God's image, go ahead and laugh your head off!
Laugh with your kids.
Laugh with your spouse.
Laugh with your friends, or even a group of strangers.
Laugh at stupid jokes.
Laugh at funny TV shows.
Laugh at puppy antics, gifs, your weird uncle, your next stupid mistake.
Laugh like your life depends on it.
Laugh, knowing that somehow, someway, doing so offers you a brief and powerful taste of what the ridiculous, unearned, never-ending, inexhaustible, laughable grace of the God of the Universe feels like.