Midweek Wake-Up, November 15th, 2018
Jesus never, ever smiled. Nor did Jesus ever laugh.
That was the sincere opinion of a friend and fellow theology student – Colin. Colin challenged me to find a New Testament passage that explicitly stated that Jesus actually did smile or laugh. But Colin didn’t stop there. Colin inferred that because Jesus didn’t smile or laugh then it must be wrong for anybody to exhibit such “unholy” behaviour in church during “worship”. In fact, we should all probably be careful about how much we indulged ourselves in such worldly behaviour!
It’s dangerous to make an argument like that from silence. And it’s even more dangerous to build a code of morality upon it. Organised religion seems to specialize in adding rule upon rule and tradition upon tradition to the life-manual of its adherents. That was clearly the case in Jesus day where the Old Testament command to fast once a year had somehow jumped to a mandatory twice a week rule for some.
In Mark 2:18-22 Jesus, picking up on old testament imagery, describes himself as a bridegroom and his disciples as guests at the wedding feast. So, whilst the bridegroom is with them, feasting and celebration should be the norm and not fasting. But how can there be feasting and celebrating without smiling and laughing? And how can you change water into wine at a wedding feast without laughter? And how can you heal multitudes and deliver others from demons with nothing but an austere stare?
“Lord rescue me from lifeless religion and tradition and daily make me as a new wineskin ready to be filled again with new life in Christ”
NSC, as you walk into your day let me remind you of a prayer penned by one of our own that we learnt on Sunday morning:
I need a new wine to satisfy my soul
Give me a new wine to make me whole
Up from the deep, deep well the water of life
Give me a new wine I thirst for you
I need a new wine I need your life
I need a new song in my soul
to give you praise and honour
You are why I sing praises and
You are why I eat good food and
You are why I drink new wine