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Κυριακή, 26 Σεπτεμβρίου 2021

Laughter Joy is the Infallible Sign of God's Presence

 




Laughter

Joy is the Infallible Sign of God's Presence


Although we have no written evidence that Our Lord Jesus Christ laughed, I am personally convinced that he did. How could He not have shared in our humanity with perfection had he not had a sense of humor, and shared moments of laughter with His disciples? Laughter is such a precious gift, for it allows us to share circumstances in our lives in a special way. When we allow ourselves to see with joy those often funny events that take place around us, we are able to put ourselves in a proper perspective. Our ability to laugh at ourselves helps reduce our sense of  self-importance.


That a Christian can laugh in no way suggests it is proper to smile at dirty humor, or make light of another person's infirmity or failure. Our humor must never be based on ridicule, or the demeaning of another. Christ used humor when He depicted a camel struggling to get through the eye of a needle. (Matt. 19:24). And we read in Proverbs 17:22,  "that a merry heart does good, like medicine".


A sense of humor demonstrates to others that we live with joy and gladness in our hearts, because we have reason to be happy. We believe the gift of salvation is a good reason to be happy, since the Lord's ministry did not end on the Cross, but was followed by His Holy Resurrection. Living with a joyful heart adds value to our faith because it makes others want to share in the joy they see in us.


We can laugh because we know that all will work out in the end because God loves us, and we believe His providential hand is at work in our lives. We believe that God knows there is plenty of sadness, sorrow, and sickness in this life, but that it will not prevail, because His plan for our salvation is at work. The old Celtic saying, “Life is all about loving, living, and laughing, not about hating, dying, and moaning,” has as its basis the Orthodox Christianity of the Celtic people. That is why it is an oxymoron for a Christian to be crabby, griping, and whining, and why "Joy is the infallible sign of God's presence".


With love in Christ,

Abbot Tryphon


Photos: Father Artemy Vladimirov, an English-speaking Moscow priest from the Church of All Saints at Krasnoselskaya. Father Artemy has, for the past decade, been a mainstay for Western Orthodox converts living in Moscow and visitors seeking a deeper spiritual life.

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