What I’m Thinking: Laughter

Laughter comes from many places in the human soul. The best of them all is the laughter of pure joy.

Here’s a transcript:

I’m thinking about laughter, and the different ways in which we human beings laugh. In chapters 18 and 21 of Genesis (Genesis 18:1-15, 21:1-7), Sarah laughs, but her laughter is of a very different character in chapter 21 than it was in 18.

In chapter 18, there are visitors to the camp of Abraham and Sarah, and the three of them tell Abraham that he and Sarah will have a son. They will become parents. They will become ancestors.

Sarah laughs because it is, in fact, a preposterous thing to say. She has passed menopause. She is no longer capable of conceiving or bearing a child. As for Abraham, is he still capable of fathering children? Both of them are well past the age when that is likely.

Why did Sarah laugh? Because she could not believe that she would “again have pleasure,” as the text says.

In chapter 21, we find that indeed Sarah has conceived, that she has successfully brought the child to term, and that Isaac, son of Sarah and Abraham, has been born. Sarah’s laughter is enshrined in the child’s name, “Yitzhak,” “He laughs.” But now the laughter is of a different character. This is the laugh of pure joy that God has intervened in their family in a way that transforms the entire universe.

She laughs along with the grand laughter of God.

In seems strange to speak of laughter in these days of grim seriousness, and yet laughter is crucial for us now and always. There has been the laughter of derision in these days. There has been the laughter which, frankly, we associate with the villains’ laughter in our movies and plays. Every once in a while we have seen the laughter of success, of achievement. Every once in a while, when there is peace, when there is justice, when there is love, we are seeing the laughter of pure joy.

God has nothing to do with the laughter of insult “humor.” God has nothing to do with the laughter that emerges from the human throat when they somebody held down. God has nothing to do with the laughter of scheming, of maintenance of power, of injustice.

No, God’s is the laughter of promise. God’s is the laughter of compassion. God’s is the laughter of pure joy.

And God will have the last laugh.

That’s what I’m thinking. I’m curious to hear what you’re thinking. Leave me your thoughts in the comment section below; I’d love to hear from you.

Categories What I'm Thinking | Tags: | Posted on June 8, 2020

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