This message was offered at Wesley United Methodist Church (Culver, IN) on Holy Humor Sunday, April 7, 2013.
Note: unlike past sermons, these are my notes, not my manuscript. I am working hard to move to a more conversational style of preaching that relies less on a manuscript. I am hoping to eventually start recording sermons, but until that is possible, I will post my sermon notes.
Gracious God, in the moments to come, help us all to laugh. Give me the words to speak and they the ears to hear so that they might not only get the joke, but that we, together might be inspired to live your Word in the world starting today. Amen.
Why couldn’t anyone play cards on the ark?
Because the animals were on the deck.
Who was the greatest mathematician in the Bible?
Moses: it is rumored that he wrote Numbers.
Where was Solomon’s temple located?
On the side of his head.
Which Old Testament character was known for having a foul mouth at a young age?
Job: he cursed the day he was born (Job 3:1).
Where is the first baseball game mentioned in the Bible?
Genesis 1:1, “in the Big Inning…”
What cars are mentioned in the Bible?
Well, God drove Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden in a (Plymouth) Fury (context see Genesis 3). David’s Triumph was heard throughout the land. But, the amazing verse about cars in the Bible is the fact that “all of the apostles were in one (Honda) Accord” (see Luke 2:1, 5:12,King James Version).
What man in the Bible had no parents?
Joshua, the son of Nun (Joshua 2:1).
Who was the best comedian in the Bible?
Samson: he brought the house down (Judges 16:29-30)
Everyone likes a good joke; and, we have the best one to tell.
As Christians we have a story to tell that is Good News for all who hear it. We have a story that can bring joy and transform the world. The story goes like this:
God saw how dreary we were making our lives. Anger, hatred, greed, pride, envy and a whole host of other actions, attitudes and things were keeping us from a growing relationship with God and neighbor. We were created in the very image of God, and yet, we had gone so far astray that we forgotten the light, beauty and joy that God had placed within us. The world was dark.
At the right time, God came to show us the way that leads to life: a way of living that reveals the divine spark that lives within each and every one of us. But, the light God revealed was too bright for us to handle. We shielded our eyes and pushed God away. We pushed God as far away as we could: putting God to death, hiding him in a forgettable tomb, and—just to be safe—we sealed the tomb with the biggest rock we could find.
After lying in the tomb for three days, God laughed: a guttural belly laugh. And, the stone rolled away. Refusing to give up on the world God loves, refusing to be set aside, God walked out of the tomb.
Everyone likes a good joke; and, we need to share ours.
We have the best joke to tell, it brings joy, happiness, and laughter. And, we need to stop keeping it to ourselves. We have a joke worth telling: a joke that everyone can find joy in. And, we need to share it in order that the world might find joy in knowing that God has not abandoned the world God so loved and came to save.
Five Tips for Telling a Joke
1. Make sure you actually know the joke.
Practice it! Tell it to other Christians first. Trust me, you want to tell the joke a few times before you tell it to a stranger.
2. Shorter jokes are better.
I know, I know. You think you’re a great story teller. But trust me, people will listen and remember the joke better if you keep it short. Just tell the joke!
3. The punch line comes last.
And I mean last! Nothing should come after the punch-line (except for silence and their laughter). Share the joke and then let it sink in. Don’t make it a pressure sale. Allow people to decide to find joy in it or not.
4. Keep it clean.
And I mean crystal clean. If you wouldn’t tell it to the pope or a three year old, then don’t tell it. Seriously. A lot of harm has been done by Christians who tell dirty jokes: full of hate, judgment and damnation. Keep the joke clean.
5. Don’t take credit for a joke that’s not yours.
Our joke was given to us. It’s ours to tell, but God needs and deserves to get all the credit.
So now that you’ve been given a few tips for sharing a good joke, go and do it. Everyone likes a good joke. And, you’ve got the best one to tell. I hope you’ll pass it on.
 Adapted from “Seven Tips for Telling a Joke” by Brad Mongomery at HumorPower.com <http://www.humorpower.com/blog/2007/02/seven-tips-for-telling-a-joke/> Accessed April 4, 2013.