Saturday, July 2, 2016
A Laughing God
All of us have seen quite a few artistic renderings of Jesus. Perhaps, the serene Jesus with flowing hair and beard created by Warner Sallman is the most recognizable one. Few churches do not have a least one of this portrayal of Christ hanging on some wall. But, there are also those of Jesus with different skin colors, messed up hair, and even one of Him laughing. While some might say "sacrilege" at such a rendering, Jesus surely laughed on earth as He did in heaven.
The 2nd Psalm reads, "He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord has them in derision." (Psalms 2:4) "Them" are those who live with intentions to undo the plan of God and to upend the ones whose purpose is to accomplish the divine plan. Those who seek to undo and upend what God is about may live with the illusion that victory is in their grasp even though reality declares their defeat is sure. No wonder God laughs. One of the great hymns of the church is "A Mighty Fortress is Our God." In the places where I grew up, the 3rd verse of most four verse hymns was omitted. So, we seldom sang Martin Luther's words which would have us singing, "And though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us, we will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us. The Prince of Darkness grim, we tremble not for him; his rage we can endure, for lo, his doom is sure; one little word shall fell him."
Of course, the great reformer's hymn creates all kinds of problems for those who think the world is only filled with roses and sugar, but that is an issue for another day. No matter what evil is concocted, God always has the last word. The cross surely bears witness to this truth. Surely, Pilate who signed the execution order and the Jewish authorities who conspired against Jesus were not laughing on Sunday morning when they heard the reports of the empty tomb. But, then, maybe, just maybe the one laughing was God.