A pastor in Clearwater, Fla., preached one of the shortest sermons ever recorded. The topic was “Sin.” He got up and said, “Don’t do it, Amen.” Then he sat down.
Why such a short sermon? The reason was that his church was celebrating Holy Humor Sunday, which is a resurrection of an ancient custom called “Bright Sunday” (the Sunday after Easter), when early Christians had a day of joy and laughter to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection. Churchgoers and pastors played practical jokes, had picnics, drenched one another with water, told jokes, danced and sang. After all, God had played a practical joke on the devil by raising Jesus from the dead.
In 1988, the Fellowship of Merry Christians began promoting the celebration of “Holy Humor Sunday” on the Sunday after Easter, with the theme, “Jesus is the life of the party.” The idea seems to be spreading.
Some churches celebrate “Holy Humor Sunday” with ushers dressed as clowns, bright streamers, smiley faces, multi-colored balloons and signs saying, “Smile! Jesus is alive.”
Two Mennonite churches in Kansas gather on the Sunday after Easter and sing silly songs about their church, reworded from popular musicals, such as “The Sound of Music.” Instead of singing, “The hills are alive with the sound of music,” they sang, “The pews are alive with the sounds of Mennonites.”
A United Methodist Church in New Jersey had their choir sing in bathrobes and used the occasion to take up a collection for new choir robes.
A Christian church in Missouri advertised on their sign, “If you must sleep in the Sunday after Easter, sleep in here.” They provided sleeping bags on their back pews for those who wanted to take a nap during the service.
A church in Michigan celebrated “Holy Humor Sunday” with a series of baseball sketches in a “nine-inning” baseball service. A chicken mascot cheered on the congregation, and when the preacher got winded, he was replaced by two “relief preachers.” The pastor said, “It’s not sacrilegious — it’s good theology. After the pain of the crucifixion of Jesus, we want to celebrate the joy and fun of Jesus’ resurrection for more than just one day.”
A United Methodist church in New Jersey gave everyone in the congregation a kazoo, filled the sanctuary with helium balloons and allowed members to take turns telling clean jokes.
A Presbyterian church in Florida decorated the worship center with large butterflies, encouraged members to wear their brightest colors, and women had a “parade of hats” to display their unusual and colorful hats. After the service, members who had lost a loved one since the previous Easter released live butterflies in the church courtyard.
Why not? After all, Jesus is alive, Satan is defeated, and Christians get the last laugh!
(Copyright 2011 by Bob Rogers. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit my blog at www.holyhumor.blogspot.com.)