Do you think that God laughs? I am certain of it!
Although I do not mean it in literal anthropomorphic sense.
God must have a divine sense of humour; how else could God put up with our human race?
God’s divinely sparkling humour shows all the time in the Bible, even in the Ten Commandments, as serious as they are! They are recorded in the Bible in two different versions (Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5). Both versions differ slightly, but just enough to make a mockery of any stupid literal legalism. And the central story of our faith (the Gospel) is preserved in the Bible in no less than four versions (at times mutually exclusive) and in hundreds of ancient manuscripts and thousands and thousands of different readings. I enjoy thinking about how the Holy Spirit utilised the sublime aspirations and individual egos of those ambitious gospel authors (and copyists) to preserve the rich theological diversity of the early church.
Some people take themselves way too seriously. Often religious people take their religion even more seriously! Religion is no laughing matter, oh no no no! And God laughs at our human self-centeredness and buffoonish religious self-importance. To protect us from macabre ritualistic religiosity, God endowed humanity with a potent medicine, a sense of humour to de-mask falsehoods, pretenses, ostentatious piety, empty rituals and idolatrous ideologies. The gift of humour is one of the biggest healing gifts which we were given and thankfully theologians have started to pay attention to it in the last few decades. Thus it slowly starts to percolate into the church that biblical storytelling is infused with lighthearted humour in many forms.
This Sunday we are starting a mini-series on the “prophet” Jonah. Forget about those deeply-entrenched moralizing messages and hard-to-believe strange miracles (whether taken literally or allegorically). Modern scholarship is quite clear - exaggerated features of this story are an intentional part of its farcical strategy, together with parody, satire, irony, and verbal wit.
As soon as we accept this premise of divine humour, we are already being transformed, liberated and "infected" by divine healing laughter. ;-)