A couple months ago, at the Praise Service, one of the songs Messenger led us in spoke of making God smile, and later I asked the congregation what might we do to make God smile. Suggestions included obey the 10 Commandments (a very good idea), attend worship (also very good), and comfort others (likewise very good). Then one of the kids suggested we could tell God a joke. I loved that, told her so, and suggested we try and think of good jokes to tell God.
Two older pastors decided to welcome the new, young pastor to town by taking her fishing. They met at the lake, got into the boat, rowed out a short distance, and began to fish. The conversation was good, they were getting to know each other very well, when the one older pastor realized they’d left the cooler of drinks on the shore. Getting out of the boat, he walked across the water, got the cooler, and walked back to the boat. The young pastor looked amazed at this, but said nothing. A little later, the other older pastor realized they’d left the other cooler, with the sandwiches in it, on the shore, so he, too, got out of the boat, walked across the water, got the cooler, and walked back. The young pastor was now genuinely stunned. Deciding anything they could do, she could do, she said she needed to go back to shore to get more sunscreen. Stepping out of the boat, onto the water, she sank. The one pastor looked to the other and said, “do you think we should have told her where the rocks were?”
A Lutheran pastor, a scientist, and a Cub Scout were all in a small plane, when the engines caught fire. The pilot came back, told them the plane was going to crash, and they needed to jump, but, there were only three parachutes. The pilot said he had a young wife and child and they needed him, so he grabbed one of the parachutes and jumped. The scientist then said he was the smartest man on earth and the world needed his genius, so he grabbed the nest parachute and jumped. The pastor looked at the Scout and said, “Son, I’m old and have lived a full, rich life. You have your whole life ahead of you. Take the last parachute and go.” The Scout then said, “It’s OK, pastor, we’ll both be fine. The smartest man on earth jumped out with my backpack.”
Think those jokes made God smile (did they make you smile)? Jokes are great, I certainly tell enough of them, and I’m sure the good ones do bring a smile to God, not just because they’re funny, but because God genuinely wants us to enjoy the life, the blessings God gives to us. There is a saying, I’m not sure where it’s from, that says when we finally stand before God, the one thing God will ask us is, did you enjoy the good things I gave you in life?
As we enter the fullness of summer, my hope is that we will all take the time to enjoy the blessings we receive daily from God. That we will enjoy the gifts we receive daily from God. That we will enjoy the life we have been given by God. Even in the darkest times, blessings and gifts and life flow endlessly from the heart of God to us, to enrich us, heal us, strengthen us, uplift us, and give us visions of light and divine joy.
God smiles when our lives are reflections of divine love. God smiles when our lives are lived out with grace, mercy, forgiveness, and love. God smiles when our lives bring joy to others, bring hope and healing and renewal to others. God smiles when our lives are lived in peace with one another. God smiles when our lives are examples to all of the healing power of God’s endless love for all the world. God smiles when we come together in mutual love and support. God smiles when we set aside differences, break down barriers, and reach out in welcoming love to all of God’s beloved children, whoever they may be.
Jokes can make God smile, but lives lived out in the fullness of what it means to be a baptized, beloved child of God, made new by God in baptism, fed by God at the table, led by the Holy Spirit into lives of service to others, will make God break out into a smile that spans the universe.
So again, I ask you to look for all the ways your life can make God smile. Tell a joke, make a friend, heal a hurt, bind up a wound, open your heart, change a life, make a difference, be love, do love, give love, receive love, and see the smile of God filling you, and the world around you. See you in church.