Do you enjoy silly movies, telling jokes, and playing games? When was the last time you exprienced a belly laugh or pure delight?
This week I have played with fairy lights, colored ribbon, chalk markers, and precious photos. Fun, laughter, and delight have filled our home. We are making preparations. In just a week Sophie and Peter will be married.
The Scriptures abound with laughter and play.
Consider Genesis 18:10-15. These verses record the account when God informed Abraham and Sarah they would have a son by “this time next year” (v. 10). Sarah openly laughed. Recognizing her advanced age (around 89), she felt worn out and yet amused that sexual pleasure and a child awaited her (v. 12). Abraham, her husband, probably around 99 years old, thought along similar lines as his wife. Abraham believed God could give him and Sarah descendants, making them parents even though he was “too old” (Hebrews 11:11-12). The idea of fathering a child at his age struck him as funny as well. Nevertheless, Abraham and Sarah enjoyed some play-time resulting in the conception of Isaac.
Play: to engage in activity for enjoyment and recreation rather than a serious or practical purpose.
How well do you play, laugh, and recreate?
Zephaniah 3:17 illustrates joy and laughter in God’s character: “He will take great delight in you … He will rejoice over you with singing.” This rejoicing carries with it the idea of physical activity. The verse presents the possibility that God’s delight entails joyful songs, laugher, and dancing. God created play.
Describe activities in your life that are playful, fun, and lighthearted.
The New Testament abounds with laughter and playful encounters. Jesus exhibited a disarming and compelling personality. He maintained the attention of crowds for days and the loyalty of His twelve disciples for three solid years. In addition to being a captivating teacher whose words brought life, He was fun to be around. For example, a crowd numbering 5,000 men plus women and children followed Jesus to a solitary place (Mark 6:30-44). His teaching caused people to forget to eat, bring food, or attend to their work. That’s hilarious.
In his work, The Humor of Christ, Elton Trueblood lists thirty humorous passages in the Gospels. These texts reveal phrases, parables, and stories that Jesus told which display His funny bone. Trueblood believes His audience would have laughed at the image of those who loudly proclaim their righteous actions in front of others. Why? Because it prevailed in their culture (Matt. 6:2)! Similarly, the audience probably chuckled when Jesus commended the tenacious widow for her persistent pestering of the unjust judge. He even cited her as a successful model for prayer (Luke 18:1-8).
Jesus’ teaching and the Scriptures contain fun, humor, and play. Have you ever regarded Jesus as humorous? He not only caused people to take serious examination of their lives, but also to chuckle.
Tania Runyan, offers a fresh perspective on the wedding at Cana in this poem.
The Wedding at Cana
“At first they stared in terror, the steam of water suddenly flushed red, as if a fish had been speared in the cistern.
They steadied themselves on tables. They look around, awaiting the fire of angels to consume them. Eventually,
a guest cleared his throat and murmured, Hey, we’ve got a regular plague of wine here, and they began to laugh, softly
At first, then wildly, lusciously, as the swallows ignited their throats. The women rattled their tambourines;
The men stomped their feet on the dusty floor; the bridegroom swung his wife to the ceiling. And Jesus whirled an whooped
In the middle of the room as his small, graying mother poured the goblets like made, wine spilling over her wrists.”
What bubbled up within you as you read this poem?
Notice the transformation within the scene. Can you hear the shouts and musical instruments? Do you feel the floor shake? What is it like to see men and women swing, dance, and whirl?
Is it possible Jesus winked at his mother as He said, “Woman, what does this have to do with me?”
Picture the expressions of delight alight the faces of the bridal party and guests as the best wine appeared at the end of the celebration. Imagine tasting the deep rich flavor of the extravagant gift of wine.
While we do not know for certain the exact manner in which the play and party took place at this wedding, we do know Jesus brought merrymaking to those around him. He contributed to the extravagant celebration.
Play is a necessary practice for healthy spiritual living.
Ponder the role of play in the rhythm of your living? What does play look like as we mature and age? Consider what prevents you from letting go and taking pleasure in God’s goodness and blessing?
If the Rock of Ages can take great delight with rejoicing and singing, then, we are never too old to play, laugh, and have fun.
- Find a friend or family member and play a game of rock, paper, scissors.
- Enjoy a game of “I spy” with friends and family.
- Run in circles with your dog through the field.
- Get out markers and crayons and play with color.
- Choose a variety of spices and create fresh flavors and new tantalizing meals.
- Build a model airplane or a remote-control car. Play with them in the yard and down the street.
- Visit the local restaurant and play a game of corn hole.
Laugh and enjoy the playful encounters of life. Take time to play. I look forward to many moments for play sprinkled throughout this next week of wedding anticipation. How will you play this week? Engage with the funny bone of God by receiving and enjoying His goodnesses and blessings.
God made us to delight in others, as He delights in us. Let humor, fun, and play flood your soul and your life.
And if you feel the floor shaking, hear bells ringing, or notice the joyful sound of laugher, you’ll know a playful celebration is erupting on Sophie and Peter’s wedding day.
Drips from the Word: Muse about these Bible verses. Let these truths impact your living.
A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.
Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. And he said to them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the feast.” So they took it. When the master of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now.”
Splashes from the Spigot: Drink from deep wells. Check out these suggested readings.
Tania Ruyan. A Thousand Vessels Seattle, WA 2011.
Elton Trublood. The Humor of Christ. New York, NY. 1975.
Puddles for Prayer: Thank you for praying for upcoming travel and speaking engagements.
January 20 – Denver, CO
My daughter, Sophie, gets married to a fine young man, Peter Gomez. Would appreciate prayer for a blessed celebration. Thank you!