Tuesday Re-mix –
Sarah said, “God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.” Genesis 21:6
“I always want to pastor a church where there is laughter in the hallways.” Those were some of the very first words I ever heard my pastor speak. Some sixteen years ago, when I had the privilege of making the very nervous “first contact” with him as a candidate in our church’s pastor search process, these words were a part of his vision for how a New Testament church should look. And in keeping with that vision, his very first sermon at our church was from Genesis 21…Sarah’s laughter and what it teaches us.
There is supposed to be laughter among God’s people. It is a sign of healthy relationships, of inner peace, and in some cases, of faith.
There is, of course, more than one kind of laughter. There is laughter that is about how ridiculous people can be. There is laughter that is nervous. There is laughter that is pretense. But the kind of laughter I am talking about is laughter which comes from amazement of what God has done or of what God is doing. It is the same kind of laughter Sarah talks about in Genesis 21. You see, God had made a promise to Sarah’s husband Abraham that he would be the father of a great nation. That promise came when Sarah was already 65 years old. Twenty-five years later, at the ripe old age of 90, Sarah is still without child. She was now long past the child-bearing years and was living in a culture where few things were more humiliating for a woman than to be barren. Surely, she (and her husband) were the subject of plenty of whispers and gossip in their community. So, for God to then bless her with a pregnancy at long last in fulfillment of His promise, there was just no more natural way to express her wonder than to laugh. Out loud.
And the New Testament church should have that same wondrous response to what God is doing among us. We should be constantly aware of His activity, continuously grateful for His hand at work among us, and filled with a spirit of laughter at how blessed we are to be called His people.
At least that is how it is supposed to be. Are your church’s hallways filled with that kind of laughter?