It can happen to the best of us and it can happen without warning. It begins as a giggle, a hint of laughter. It grows into a chuckle and a chortle before becoming a full-fledged laugh. It ends up with you gasping for air, trying to catch your breath, sides hurting from the total belly laugh that just took place.
You tell others about it later. They stare at you, unblinking, unsmiling. “I don’t get it,” they say. “How was that funny?” “You had to be there, I guess,” you answer in amazement that they don’t get it.
What’s odd is that when you think about it later, you’re not so sure it was all that comical either. It seemed to be in the moment, but on reflection it may not have been so much comical as it was tragic, or sad, or just something that happened that was inexplicable. The laughter came from somewhere deep within, some place that found the moment to be so profound or frightening or just odd that the only response really was to laugh or cry and laughing seemed so much the nicer alternative.
Perhaps it was that type of moment for Abraham and Sarah. Childless with no prospect of children, old (he 100, she 90) and “beyond the time” they had just been told by visitors that Sarah would have a child, that God would keep the promise. What else was there to do but laugh? One wonders if perhaps God laughed with them. It was so funny they named the child “Laughter” (Isaac).
This Sunday, as we continue the “Family Stories” of the Abraham family, we will spend some time with this tale of Abraham and Sarah hosting guests at the table only to discover that the joke’s on them – the guests bring a hostess gift, one otherwise unimaginable. We’ll read Genesis 18:1-15 and talk about “Surprises Along the Way.”
Bring your sense of humor and I’ll see you Sunday. Until then, did you hear the one about…..
Grace and peace.