Revd Rex A E Hunt

(Brought to you by the Colour Yellow)

Easter 2A.  19 April 2020.  Colour:  Yellow

v1  Good morning gentle-folk of (NN)!

This morning we meet to celebrate the God 
who invites us into the colour and dance
      and the song and the laughter
      of the Universe 

v2  Into the joy that surrounds and is beyond the universe.
The joy that is always in the heart and laughter of God
      who loves life in all its fun and ridiculousness 
      and many dimensional hues.

v3  We come to celebrate the God we dare to know.
The One who offers the gift of rollicking joyfulness 
      In our song, in our dance, in our telling of scintillating stories

In our telling of those jokes and clever plays with words
that can be a praise to our Creator

v1  We are thankful for happy laughter -- even for a side-splitting belly laugh
So let this time not be curtailed or made to drop like a lead-balloon!
      Let us be god's Holy Fools -- God's makers of rollicking melody
      God's People alive in love, laughter and expectation!!

A cheerful/merry heart is a good medicine,
but a downcast spirit dries up the bones.  (Proverbs 17:22)

Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass,
it’s learning how to dance in the rain.

Life is not the way it’s supposed to be.  It’s the way it is.
The way we cope with it is what makes the difference.

What soap is to the body laughter is to the soul.  (Jewish Proverb)

We have a technical name for people who do not change: dead.

Let there be spaces in your togetherness,
and let the winds of the heavens dance between you.

Only when a juggler missed catching his balls
does he appeal to me.  (Kahlil Gibran)

A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance.  (Ecclesiastes 3:4)

Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh.  (Luke 6:21)

And now gentle-folk might I invite us to remember 
the 11th and 12th Commandment of  Deutero-Moses      
     written on tablets of recycled plasticized-rock out the back      
     of the Mount Sinai Plaza and Bistro….
                "thou shalt not remain dumb and mirthless 
on Holy Humour Sunday morning"

And the twelfth?
                “thou shalt make (name of local hymn book)
                rollick, sway, and dance, the joy and laughter of our god"

Fundamentalists have no sense of humor, none at all. Life is a burden to them while they wait to go to some fantasy called heaven. As H. L. Mencken put it: "the Christian fundamentalist has the awful fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy."

I do not think Christian theologians can ever laugh. They are too serious… too occupied in trying to explain God… leaving no room for playfulness. Or as Oscar Wilde put it: “over-seriousness is a mask and a cover for the shallow.  (David T. Suzuki)

A number of years ago "Playboy" magazine had an article [written by Harvey Cox] about Jesus accompanied by a [sketch] of Jesus, with his head thrown back, laughing. The editors said that in all the years they had been publishing the magazine they had never received so much hate mail. Complaints poured in over the [sketch] of a laughing Jesus. Isn't that revealing as to how many devoutly religious people must have been reading "Playboy" magazine?  Can you imagine hate mail from any other source?  (William Edelen, 12 August 2001)

Do you want to know what goes on in the heart of the Trinity? I will tell you.
In the heart of the Trinity the Father laughs and gives birth to the Son.
The Son laughs back at the Father and gives birth to the Spirit.
The whole Trinity laughs and gives birth to us.

When God laughs at the soul and the soul laughs back at God, the persons of the Trinity are begotten.  When the Father laughs at the Son and the Son laughs back at the Father, that laughter gives pleasure, that pleasure gives joy, that joy gives love, and that is the Holy Spirit.  (Meister Eckhart)

A Contemporary Exploration/Sermon can be found HERE
An extract from that appears below:

[Harvey Cox] had in mind, no doubt, the custom found in some Orthodox churches,
where members meet in the church - usually on the Monday after Easter
(through to the following Saturday),
and called ‘Bright Monday/Week’ - for a feast and festival.

Games would be played. And there would be much laughter, dancing and joke telling.
Why? Because, they said, it was the most fitting way
to celebrate the ‘big joke’ God pulled on Satan
in the resurrection.

Now that tickles my fancy!
But it leaves us with the over-all question:
Why does laughter hold such a meager place in our religious life?


(i) Deep in the Heart of God"  (Tune: 'Tyrolese', 86 86 86 86)
Deep in the heart of God there lurks
A mischief making note,
A gurgle of suppressed delight
A chuckle in the throat.
Deep in the heart of God there lies
A reservoir of pain,
A cross-marked agony of love
Filled and refilled again.

God of our laughter and our tears,
Transcending human thought,
You share our fun in life, our fears,
By incarnation brought:
Father of Jesus Christ, the clown,
Whose Spirit gives us breath,
Hear us, who look to you to crown
Our merriment, our death.   (Ian Fraser)

(ii) “Embrace This Life (Tune: ‘Sine Nomine', 10 10 10 with hallelujahs) 
Embrace this life and all its wondrous days,
let go of fear that in our heart betrays
the joy of life, the beauty and the praise.
Hallelujah, hallelujah. 

When truth becomes the gospel that we spread,
it lifts the shadows of our deepest dread;
with honest words our hearts are richly fed.
Hallelujah, hallelujah. 

The strength of truth creates a warming light
of peace and freedom, born when things are right;
an honest heart expands our inward sight.
Hallelujah, hallelujah. 

Give thanks for truth that opens ways to care,
to ease the struggles and the pain we bear;
the way of truth improves the lives we share.
Hallelujah, hallelujah.  (© Rev Peggy McDonagh, 2004 All rights reserved)

(iii) “Joy's Creation” (Tune: ‘Lauda Anima’, 87 87 87) 
Praise the birth of Joy's creation,
joy of wisdom, love and peace:
joy that lifts the human spirit,
joy so true it shall not cease.
Celebrate the joy of living,
giving hearts a glad release. 

Praise with gladness Joy's creation,
joy of strength to guide our way:
joy that heals a grieving sadness,
leads the heart to dance and play.
Celebrate the joy of healing,
bringing hope to each new day.

Praise with gladness Joy's creation,
joy of laughter, hope and worth:
joy that conquers pain and sorrow,
joy that gives the soul new birth.
Celebrate the joy of goodness,
changing tears to wondrous mirth.

Praise with gladness Joy's creation,
joy to face despair and need:
joy that blesses hearts in action,
joy infusing all our deeds.
Celebrate the joy of kindness,
make it our most noble creed.
 (© Rev. Peggy McDonagh, 2003 All rights reserved) 

(iv) “Deep in the Human Heart” (Tune: ‘Diamemata’, 66 86D)
Deep in the human heart
The fire of justice burns;
A vision of a world renewed
Through radical concern.
As Christians we are called
To set the captives free,
To overthrow the evil powers
And end hypocrisy.

This is our task today:
To build a world of peace;
A world of justice, freedom, truth,
Where kindness will increase;
A world from hunger freed,
A world where people share,
Where every person is of worth
And no-one lives in fear.

Taking the step of faith,
We leave the past behind,
And move into the future's world
With open heart and mind.
By grace we work with Christ,
As one community,
To bring new hope and fuller life,
To all humanity.  (William L Wallace)

(v) “Give Me Laughter(Tune: Found inThe Mystery Telling’)
Give me laughter, give me singing,
give me dancing in my heart;
Come, Spirit, burst the bubble
of my fear and solemn pride.

Give me sunflowers, give me rainbows,
give me jesters’ crazy wit;
Come, Spirit, burst the bubble
of my fear and solemn pride.

Help me tear down all the idols
that protect my timid heart;
Come, Spirit, bind together
all our broken, longing lives.  (William L Wallace)

(vi) “Blow Your Whistle”  (Music © William Livingstone Wallace)
Harmony by Francis Dennis

Blow your whistle, beat your drum,
God’s new way is full of fun.
Have a party, bake a cake,
Everyone should celebrate.

Break the bread and pour the wine,
Sharing calls us all to dine.
Press the grapes, use flour and yeast,
Life is like a wedding feast.

Dream new dreams when you feel sad,
Think of peace when you feel mad.
Try to know how others feel;
Help their wounded hearts to heal.

Blow your whistle, beat your drum,
God’s new Way is full of fun.
Have a party, bake a cake,
Everyone should celebrate.  (William L Wallace)

(vii) “Lithe Spirit You’re Bounding and Leaping”  (Tune: 98 11 8)
Lithe spirit you’re bounding and leaping,
stars shimmer and flash from your heels,
until the whole world burns with pardon and praise,
until the lost know how love feels.

O harlequin dazzle by dancing,
let joy spring like sparks from a flame,
until every person consumed by your love
comes blithely to join in your game.

Come juggler, spinning and turning
our chances and dreams like a top,
until all our values are turned upside down
whirl on through the world, never stop.  (Andrew Pratt)

(viii) “Playful God(Tune: ‘Joyful God’. 77 87)
Playful God, you laugh and dance
at every indication
that we have caught a glimpse, a glance
of magic in creation.

Tearful God, you weep and mourn,
you share our desolation;
in every doubt, in pain and grief,
we need your consolation.

Joyful God, we praise your name
in every situation.
Your love will even live through death,
you promise resurrection.

Mighty God, creative heart
and source of our elation,
accept our praise, our lives, our all,
our ceaseless adoration.  (Andrew Pratt)

(ix) “We Laugh, We Cry(Tune: ‘Credo’, Irreg.)
We laugh, we cry, we live, we die;
we dance, we sing our song.
We need to feel there’s something here
to which we can belong.
We need to feel the freedom
just to have some time alone.
But most of all we need close friends
we can call our very own.

And we believe in life,
and in the strength of love;
and we have found a need to be together.
We have our hearts to give,
we have our thoughts to receive;
and we believe that sharing is an answer.

A child is born among us and
we feel a special glow.
We see time’s endless journey
as we watch the baby grow.
We thrill to hear
imagination freely running wild.
We dedicate our minds and hearts
To the spirit of this child.

And we believe in life,
and in the strength of love;
and we have found a time to be together.
And with the grace of age,
we share the wonder of youth;
and we believe that growing is an answer.

Our lives are full of wonder and
our time is very brief.
The death of one among us
fills us all with pain and grief.
But as we live, so
shall we die and when our lives are done
the memories we shared with friends,
they will linger on and on.

And we believe in life,
and in the strength of love;
and we have found a place to be together.
We have the right to grow,
we have the gift to believe;
that peace within our living is an answer.

We seek elusive answers to
the questions of this life.
We seek to put an end to
all the waste of human strife.
We search for truth,
equality, and blessed peace of mind.
And then, we come together here,
to make sense of what we find.

And we believe in life,
and in the strength of love;
and we have found a joy being together.
And in our search for peace,
maybe we’ll finally see;
even to question, truly, is an answer.  (Shelley J Denham)

(x)  “God of Love and Joy and Laughter”  (Tune: ‘Ode to Joy’)
God of love and joy and laughter,
Calling us to fruitful days,
May we be the echoes after
Church and people sing your praise.
Your love calls our love to being,
Grows, surrounds, up-builds, and holds,
Clears our eyes for keenly seeing
All the world your love enfolds.

When we join in celebration,
Grateful for abundant gifts,
Send again that revelation
Of your grace that heals all rifts.
Grant us love that’s deeper, stronger,
As the days turn into years,
Wisdom fuller, patience longer,
Faith and hope through joy and tears.

Now we ask your benediction -
Blessing, challenge, all in one.
Calm our stress, but use its friction
That, through us, your will be done.
Keep our hope as fresh as morning.
Keep our zeal warm as the sun.
Keep our joy, as spring a-borning
Cheers the hearts of everyone.  (Jane Parker Huber)

(xi)  “Softly Shout for Joy”  (Tune: ‘Laudes Domini’)
When beauty casts its glow,
When children play in snow
I softly shout for joy!
When students get to know,
When trees, unnoticed, grow
I softly shout for joy! 

If rich folk wish to share,
If people show they care
I softly shout for joy!
If discipline is fair,
If hope grows from despair
I softly shout for joy! 

If stubborn tyrants bend,
If different races blend,
I softly shout for joy!
If outcasts find a friend,
If broken friendships mend
I softly shout for joy. 

When God is clearly found
In everything around
I softly shout for joy!
Together we are bound
In love that’s quite profound
And so I shout for joy!  (George Stuart)

“Holy Humour Day”
By John Cranmer   

Hey!!! -- You are Welcome
To a stunningly-good belly laugh
The bigger the guffaw the better!!

Eyes's watering
Nose running
Ears ringing
Saliva spraying (ooopppsss --- sorry)

Go on raise the cup of cheer
Looking for the inbuilt ridiculousness
In all this church stuff

Come on -- take the punt
That god laughs with you
At the pretensions
In all those ecclesiastical dress-ups
And pomposity of words

Come on -- and do this
All within the ambience
Of your local god-place
This Sunday after Easter

Ahh yes!!!
A venerable rite of reversal 

All this for the fascinating mob
Who regularly do the Jesus thing
Following the intensities
Of Lent Holy Week and Easter

So when all has been said and laughed at
You reckon this god's got a sense of humour?

Well she ain't changed us into cane toads
Just yet!!

Guffaws and Blessings

(i)  There was a preacher who fell in the ocean and he couldn't swim.
When a boat came by, the captain yelled, "Do you need help, sir?"
The preacher calmly said "No, God will save me." 

A little later, another boat came by and a fisherman asked, "Hey, do you need help?"
The preacher replied again, "No God will save me." 

Eventually the preacher drowned & went to heaven.
The preacher asked God, "Why didn't you save me?"
God replied, "Fool, I sent you two boats!”

(ii)  A woman is talking to God. "God, how long is a million years?"
God answers, "To me, it's about a minute."
"God, how much is a million dollars?" "To me, it's a penny."
"God, may I have a penny?”
“Wait a minute”.

(iii)  Jesus, Moses, and an old man go golfing.
The first one to tee off is Moses.
He smashes the ball and it is heading right for the water hazard before the green.
Moses raises his club, the water parts, and the ball makes it to the green. 

Jesus gets up to swing, cranks it out, and it is headed for the water hazard.
Jesus closes his eyes and prays.
The ball skips across the water and lands on the green two feet from the hole. 

The old man's turn comes and he drives the ball.
The ball looks like it is going to drop directly into the water.
A fish jumps from the water hazard swallowing the ball, as an eagle drops from the sky, grabbing the fish.
As the eagle flies over the green, a bolt of lightning strikes the eagle, making it drop the fish.
As the fish hits the green, it spits out the ball and the ball falls into the hole, making a hole in one. 

Jesus looks at Moses and says, "I really think I'm leaving Dad at home next time!”

Duncan, G. (ed). Entertaining Angels. A Worship Anthology on Sharing Christ’s Hospitality. Norwich. The Canterbury Press, 2005.
Duncan, G. (ed).
Shine On, Star of Bethlehem. A Worship Resource for Advent, Christmas and Epiphany. Norwich. The Canterbury Press, 2001.Fraser, Ian. ‘Deep in the Heart of God’. Stainer & Bell Ltd. Web site: hymns.uk.com
Gibran, K. Sand and Foam. New York. Alfred A. Knopf, 1970.
Parker Huber, Jane.  ‘God of Love…’  Public Domain.
McDonagh, P
. Two of several non-theistic resources found at: http://stephen.srv.ualberta.ca/publications/non-theistic-liturgy-resources/#sthash.0Sd5KwzN.wLO2Tlw4.dpbs
Pratt, A.
Reclaiming Praise. Hymns from a Spiritual Journey. London. Stainer & Bell Ltd., 2006.
Pratt, A.
Whatever Name or Creed. Hymns and Songs. London. Stainer & Bell Ltd., 2002.
Singing The Living Tradition. (Shelley J Denham). Boston. UUA, 1993.
Stuart, G.
Singing a New Song. Traditional Hymn Tunes with New Century Lyrics. Sydney. CPRT Sydney, 2006.
Wallace, W. L.
Something to Sing About. Hymns and Reflections in Search of a Contemporary Spirituality. Melbourne. JBCE, 1981 
Wallace, W. L. The Mystery Telling. Hymns and Songs of the New Millennium. Kingston. Selah Publishing, 2001.