Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Holy Humor Sunday

The Sunday after Easter is celebrated by many churches as Holy Humor Sunday.    Churches in 15th century Bavaria used to celebrate the Sunday after Easter as Risus Paschalis (‘God’s Joke,’ or ‘the Easter laugh’). Priests would deliberately include amusing stories and jokes in their sermons in an attempt to make the faithful laugh. After the service, people would gather together to play practical jokes on one another and tell funny stories. It was their way of celebrating the resurrection of Christ – the supreme joke God played on Satan by raising Jesus from the dead.

The observance of Humor Sunday was officially outlawed by Pope Clement X in the 17th century. Perhaps people were having too much fun.  But starting in the 1990’s, the tradition began making a comeback. We need humor and joy in our world, and today we will celebrate the humor in the church, and about the church.  This year I have the pleasure of guest preaching for Holy Humor Sunday and thought I’d share of a few of my favorite jokes for the morning. I spread them throughout the service, each relevant to the moment we are celebrating in worship.  The sermon will be on John 20: 19-31, the ‘Doubting Thomas’ story. The story the disciples told to Thomas of seeing the risen Christ was so unbelievable they must have been playing some terrible joke on him. Is it really so wrong to seek proof sometimes? 

Some of my favorite jokes for Holy Humor Sunday: 

An old preacher was dying. He sent a message for his banker and his lawyer, both church members, to come to his home.

When they arrived, they were ushered up to his bedroom. As they entered the room, the preacher held out his hands and motioned for them to sit on each side of the bed. The preacher grasped their hands, sighed contentedly, smiled, and stared at the ceiling. For a time, no one said anything.

Both the banker and lawyer were touched and flattered that the preacher would ask them to be with him during his final moments. They were also puzzled; the preacher had never given them any indication that he particularly liked either of them. They both remembered his many long, uncomfortable sermons about greed, coveting, and materialistic behavior that made them squirm in their seats.

Finally, the banker said, "Preacher, why did you ask us to come?"


The old preacher mustered up his strength and then said weakly, "Jesus died between two thieves, and that's how I want to go.”

*******

A man passing through town came along a baptismal service on Sunday afternoon down by the river. He proceeded to walk down into the water and stand next to the Preacher, curious about what was going on. 
The minister turns and notices the stranger and says, "Mister, Are you ready to find Jesus?"
The man looks back and says, "Yessss, Preacher..I sure am."
The minister then dunks the fellow under the water and pulls him right back up. "Have you found Jesus?" the preacher asked.
"Nooo, I didn't!" said the man.
The preacher then dunks him under for quite a bit longer, brings him up and says, "Now, brother, have you found Jesus?"
"Noooo, I did not pastor."
The preacher in disgust holds the man under for at least 30 seconds this time, brings him out of the water and says in a harsh tone, "My Good man, have you found Jesus yet?"
The man wipes his eyes and says to the preacher... "Are you sure this is where he fell in?"

***********

A minister told his congregation, "Next week I plan to preach about the sin of lying. To help you understand my sermon, I want you all to read Mark 17." The following Sunday, as he prepared to deliver his sermon, the minister asked for a show of hands. He wanted to know how many had read Mark 17. Every hand went up. The minister smiled and said, "Mark has only sixteen chapters. I will now proceed with my sermon on the sin of lying." 


*******

The minister was preoccupied with thoughts of how he was going to ask the congregation to come up with more money than they were expecting for repairs to the church building. 
Therefore, he was annoyed to find that the regular organist was sick and a substitute had been brought in at the last minute. The substitute wanted to know what to play. 
"Here's a copy of the service," he said impatiently. "But you'll have to think of something to play after I make the announcement about the finances." 
During the service, the minister paused and said, "Brothers and Sisters, we are in great difficulty; the roof repairs cost twice as much as we expected, and we need $4,000 more. Any of you who can pledge $100 or more, please stand up." 
At that moment, the substitute organist played the National Anthem ... 

**********

A preacher was completing a temperance sermon: with great expression he said, "If I had all the beer in the world, I'd take it and throw it into the river." With even greater emphasis he said, "And if I had all the wine in the world, I'd take it and throw it into the river."

And then finally, he said, "And if I had all the whiskey in the world, I'd take it and throw it into the river."

He sat down. The song leader then stood very cautiously and announced with a smile, "For our closing song, let us sing Hymn # 365: "Shall We Gather at the River." 

************

A man and a women who had been friends for many years died and went to heaven. They told St. Peter that they wanted to be married.

“Take your time and think about it,” said St. Peter, “you have eternity so take fifty years and see me then.”

Fifty years later, the couple returned and again told St. Peter they wanted to be married. “Well,” said St. Peter, “take another fifty years and really think about it….”

But the couple was insistent, “We know we want to be married now….”
St. Peter replied, “Well, take another fifty years and if we don’t have a preacher up here by then, I’ll marry you myself.”

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