Theme: Laughing at life
Bible refs: Psalm 126 vv 1-3; Job 8 v 21; Matthew 5 vv 3-10; Genesis 17 v 17 and 21 vv 4-7
Similar clips: Patch Adams – It’s the way you tell ‘em
Location of clip: 21 mins and 53 secs to 25 mins and 5 secs
Will is a lad about town, and one with all the time in the world. He prides himself on being an island, and not just any island, but Ibiza. A place of parties. He’s a loner and he loves it. He just likes to pick up dates and enjoy them while they last.
When he starts attending SPAT (single parents alone together) in the hope of picking up a sexy single mum, he finds to his horror that one of the SPAT offspring starts to invade his life. Marcus couldn’t be more different to Will. He’s untrendy, street-dumb, a vegetarian and has an appalling haircut. He’s also poor, whereas Will, thanks to his dad’s musical legacy, is stinking rich.
But as their friendship develops, so does the shallow Will. He finds that there is much more to him than ever met his gaze in the mirror. As the story progresses and Marcus begins to grow up, Will’s in grave danger of doing the same thing.
Marcus finds his mum on the floor unconscious after another attempted suicide. Will helps him get an ambulance and Marcus’s mother is zoomed to hospital. As they follow behind in Will’s car, Will can’t help thinking that in spite of the horror of the situation, having the chance to drive fast behind the ambulance is absolutely exhilarating. At the hospital, as they wait for news, Will asks the wrong questions, cracks the wrong jokes, and generally puts his foot in it a million times. He ends up feeling awkward and embarrassed. He just can’t get it right. He doesn’t belong in this world. He’s not serious enough.
“It was horrible. Horrible. But driving fast behind the ambulance was fantastic!”
Will inhabits a strange world. A world where he feels awkward most of the time. Pretty much like me really. He says and thinks completely inappropriate things. He cracks jokes he shouldn’t crack and has the wrong reactions at the wrong time. In other words. He’s human.
Abraham was the same. When he heard that he was to father a child at a hundred he bowed down and worshipped God. But even as he crouched there in the dust he began to get the giggles. The absurdity of the situation just seemed to make him laugh.
“Me? A dad? At four score years and twenty!”
A baby boy? He had just been hoping for a telegram from the Queen.
Sarah laughed too. She was thinking about the half century that had passed since her last period. And regular sex with her husband? Sure it’s regular, about once a year. Like clockwork. When challenged about her laughter she got scared and lied. It seemed so inappropriate. But when the baby was born and she held it in her arms she talked of more laughter. And they went on to name the boy the one who laughs. Laughter was God’s great gift to them.
If you’re like me you sometimes find it difficult to have the appropriate response. My head plays tricks on me. It drops in just the right thought at just the wrong moment. I laugh in libraries and get the giggles in church. I think about lunch when I should be praying, and I wonder about people’s hairstyles when I’m supposed to be thinking about the profound nature of the words coming out of their mouth.
Sometimes this is damaging. But often – it’s very healthy. There’s nothing more destructive than taking life too seriously. Just consider the problems created by religions and organisations that become fanatical.
I have a friend whose greatest gift to me is the fact that he spends a lot of time laughing at my serious side. When I’m drowning in self-pity he comes along, laughs loudly and lightens the load. He takes the power out of the temptation, extracts the poison out of the guilt I’m feeling. And I now realise that this is what God must be like. There are days when I end up in a jet-black mood because I’ve blown it yet again, or because someone else has blown it yet again, and I find myself fearful and wondering whether Jesus can still really like me. Then I remember Justin… and I get a hunch that Jesus is standing right there, leaning against a nearby wall, having a darn good laugh at my ridiculous overblown reactions to what is really just another normal day.
Life ambushes us doesn’t it? It frequently blows up in our faces just when all seemed to be going so well.
Somehow we have to weave a safe path through the numerous landmines that lie just beneath the surface of life. A smile and a humorous word can often help, dispelling the fear, intensity and crippling self-consciousness. I wish, for example, that we could joke more about sex in Christian circles – it might help us talk more honestly about this and many other prickly and personal subjects.
1. Have you known moments when something has made you laugh inappropriately in a Christian gathering?
2. Do you think Jesus ever found himself chuckling at something that was inadvertently funny?
3. Do you have friends who can help you laugh at yourself?
4. How do you find it when you see comedians making jokes about
5. Did the clip make you think about anything else?