A Note from Pastor Terry
So, as I sat down to write this week, on my calendar popped a reminder that Wednesday, July 1 was International joke day. I was also made aware that July 1 is the middle of our calendar year. Both of these revelations were news to me. The second one made some sense. But International Joke Day? Is that really a thing? I mean I’ve never been wished a happy IJD (though you’d think we would, right?) Are there cards? How do people celebrate it?
Real or made up, in looking into this a bit further, I learned a few things.
The laughter produced by a good joke is a universal human experience. All cultures and all peoples laugh, and a good joke is one way to prompt laughter. And with that laughter comes good health. One pioneer in laughter research (yep, it, too, is a real thing), William Fry, claimed it took ten minutes on a rowing machine for his heart rate to reach the level it would after just one minute of hearty laughter.
In fact, it’s been shown that laughter:
• Helps you relax like a good massage.
• Boosts your immune system and can help fight off colds.
• Makes you feel good with a boost of endorphins.
• Boosts your cardiovascular system like good exercise.
• Diffuses anger and angry situations.
A study by the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore tracked the benefits of laughing at a good joke. Using a questionnaire, the study determined that subjects with heart disease were 40% less likely to laugh in many situations compared to those without heart disease; on the contrary, they were more prone to anger and hostility.
Wow! Who knew? We’ve heard, of course, that laughter is good medicine. So it got me thinking: does God have a sense of humor? (Of course, he does!) He created us to be able to laugh, so he must, right? The Bible has a lot to say about joy and much to say about laughter, as well. Here are just a few samples:
Proverbs 17:22 (ESV) “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”
Psalm 126:2 (ESV) “Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy; then they said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.”
Job 8:21 (ESV) “He will yet fill your mouth with laughter, and your lips with shouting.”
Ecclesiastes 3:4 (ESV) “A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;”
Proverbs 15:13 (ESV) “A glad heart makes a cheerful face, but by sorrow of heart the spirit is crushed.”
Genesis 21:6 (ESV) “And Sarah said, “God has made laughter for me; everyone who hears will laugh over me.”
This month, for our First Friday Online Event, how about if we press “pause” on our “got fruit” series from Galatians 5:22-23, and share a few laughs together? With everything that’s going on in the world right now, it seems like we could really use a little good medicine. Check out the details above for our First Friday information. I have a feeling we’ll be in better shape to continue doing our part in the world once we’ve smiled a bit and maybe even laughed with one another again.
I hope to see you soon.
Right here with you,