Laugh: noun chuckle, giggle, snigger, hoot, snort, cackle, chortle, guffaw, titter
Laughter is an equal opportunities activity. We all do it: children and adults, beggars and kings. Time and again the Bible promises that God’s people will laugh with God. Even those who weep now will laugh soon – not just the cynical laughter of revenge, but the innocent laughter of children.
Laughter is also one of God’s modes of judgement, and a sign of the kingdom breaking in. Nothing punctures the pomposity of power quite as effectively as a joke. Nothing celebrates the hope of liberation as powerfully as the joyful laughter of a child.
In difficult times, we need to hang onto our playfulness. We need to make sure we don’t take ourselves too seriously. In the words of the late great Humphrey Lyttelton, “As we journey through life, discarding baggage along the way, we should keep an iron grip, to the very end, on the capacity for silliness. It preserves the soul from desiccation.”
Thankfully, children know how to make adults laugh, and they keep us hopeful with their humour. This year children will remind us how to chuckle at ourselves and laugh with God – not least during our Sunday morning communion service.
But you don’t have to wait that long.
As you walk around the festival you may come across someone wearing one of our distinctive “JokerBands.” These are the Greenbelt Jokers. If you see a joker, be they young or old, your job is to try to make them laugh. Pull a funny face, dance a jig or tell them your favourite joke. If you manage to make them laugh, they will hand over the sash and you will be the next Greenbelt Joker. Try it in the queue for an event or use it to break the ice with your campsite neighbour.
On Sunday morning as we gather for our festival communion service there will be an opportunity to come to front of the crowd and share a joke.
And don’t forget we’ll be giving away dead batteries all weekend. They’re free of charge.