Pastor’s Corner: A Sense of Humor

May 6, 2020

In that brilliant children’s story for adults The Phantom Tollbooth by Norman Juster, the heroes of the adventure come upon someone called the “Senses Taker.” He seeks to delay and frustrate their quest by taking over their senses, providing one with amazing scents, another with captivating sounds, and the last with a feast for the eyes. The scheme collapses when they hear and then join in to the sound of laughter.

“’I’ll steal your sense of purpose, take your sense of duty, destroy your sense of proportion – and, but for one thing, you’d be helpless yet… As long as you have the sound of laughter,’ he groaned unhappily, ‘I cannot take your sense of humor – and, with it, you’ve nothing to fear from me.’”

Humor is the missing piece in David Popham’s timely reflection about Holy Anger. Not the humor of the insult comedian, no: humor at someone else’s expense is as likely to provoke anger as to settle it. One of the weakest defenses of insulting speech is among the most often used. “I was only joking.”

The humor that aids us in our stress and anger is the humor that restores our perspective, that appreciates incongruity, that releases our tension. It’s the humor that recognizes the ridiculous in our situation. It’s the humor that lets pride deflate before it bursts.

When I can laugh at myself and my circumstances, anger will not overpower me. When I can laugh at myself and my circumstances, I still strive to change them, but I do so with greater thoughtfulness and with fewer burdens. When I can laugh at myself, I can change.

Find the laughter in this time, dear friends. We have more than enough to fret about and grieve over. Give yourself some laughter as well. Let it sustain you in the peace of God.

With aloha,

Pastor Eric

Categories Pastor's Corner Reflections | Tags: , | Posted on May 8, 2020

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