Let Us All Laugh Together

Every Easter I wish I were Greek Orthodox.

They don’t sit on chilly hillsides or in dark cemeteries waiting for the sunrise, soaking up the dampness, listening to a sermon.

No, they run through streets shouting, “The Lord is risen!” And people raise their windows, fling open their doors to shout back, “He is risen indeed!”

But more. Some Orthodox Easter worship services include the Rite of Laughter.

I can hear it: “Now let us laugh. Let us worship God by laughing together.”

How appropriate for the world’s great day, the universe’s great day—great day of all universes, visible and invisible, and heaven, too. Run, shout, laugh. Especially laugh.

I wonder what kind of laughter is represented by the worshipers’ response?

Certainly joyful laughter, sometimes mixed with tears.

Like the woman who wrote a few months ago, just before she died, “The cancer has spread to my liver and there is not much hope. I shall hate to leave my family.” But laugh on Easter morning, laugh because Jesus lives and so does she. More than she ever lived before.

The laughter of beginning spring, melting snow and icy streams, after a hard, cold winter.

Then there’s the soft laughter of hope, of parents whose children cause them pain, because they are living outside God’s will; of wife or husband, deeply hurt by the other’s conduct. The laughter of every Christian who is in a Catch-22 situation—like Uganda or China or Eastern Europe. Laugh, because Jesus is Lord of history, Lord of hope, and he will have the last laugh.

Maybe there’s even Sarah’s laugh at the news she’d bear a son: Can God? Will God? Was Isaac (“laughter”) named for that tentative, questioning laugh, or that later one when Sarah held the newborn in her arms? Regardless, the ...

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