Pastoral Note – April 21

Dear Yates Family –

I miss you. I really do. Do you know what I miss now? I miss the energy that comes from time together under one roof, sharing smiles, laughter and encouragement face-to-face. The longer our time in isolation lasts, the more I look forward to chances to meet up – even if it’s only online. Now, I’m also discovering there is something known as “Zoom fatigue,” but that’s a conversation for another day.

I’m writing to encourage you this week to take some preventative medicine as we take all our pandemic precautions and prayerfully support those delivering care for the sickness of body many are facing.  Proverbs 17:22 counsels us: “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” Though it isn’t the only tool in our toolbox, laughter and sharing cheerful encouragement does go a long way to reset our minds, bodies and spirits when we feel like we are languishing or alone.

During the Stay At Home Season, the Cox Ingrams have made a concerted effort as a family to be very judicious about the amount of media to which we expose ourselves every day. This has made space for us to play cards, games, talk and linger around the supper table. While Jeanell’s amazing cooking keeps us there a good while, what holds us there even longer is joke time. Dads are good at telling jokes. They may not be good jokes, but we like to tell them. I thought I would leave you with a few to share in your household or with some friends:

  • What do you call a bear without any teeth? A gummy bear!
  • Why did the scarecrow win an award? Because he was outstanding in his field.
  • Why don’t skeletons ever go trick or treating? Because they have no body to go with.
  • What do you call an elephant that doesn’t matter? An irrelephant.
  • What did the drummer call his twin daughters? Anna one, Anna two!
  • What do you call cheese that isn’t yours? Nacho Cheese.
  • Why couldn’t the bicycle stand up by itself? It was two tired.
  • Why was the belt sent to jail? For holding up a pair of pants!
  • What lies at the bottom of the ocean and twitches? A nervous wreck.
  • What do you call a fish with two knees? A two-knee fish!

Surely you have some more to add. This week, do just that – and spread them around. It will make a difference.

It also bears a unique witness. The Sunday after Easter is sometimes known as “Bright Sunday” or “Holy Humor Sunday,” and it is deeply rooted in church history. For centuries, in Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant countries, Easter Monday and Bright Sunday (the Sunday after Easter) were observed as “days of joy and laughter,” complete with parties and picnics to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection. It was a time to share the risus paschalis, the Easter Laugh. In church thought, the resurrection is the great joke God played on the devil and death. God, literally, had the last laugh. The celebration of resurrection is appropriately shared with our own laughter, too.

So across history, Easter was a time parishioners and pastors played practical jokes on each other, drenched each other with water, sang and danced. It was a time for the church to tell jokes and to have fun throughout worship. The jokes and pranks eventually grew so rowdy that Pope Clement X prohibited the practice altogether in the 17th century. Pastors have always had a knack for killing the fun, though.

But I think it’s an amazing tradition – and it comes at just the right time this year for us. So I give it to you. In these days after Easter, find a way to share a laugh with someone else and with God. It is good medicine.

Grace and Peace,

Christopher

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