Two groups of our motley crew, going walks on Saturday at our church weekend away,  beautifully characterise the diversity of God’s People cemented by his love. ‘Without unity we can’t trust diversity, without which we have uniformity’. Laughter is tonic & medicine for our souls. Rev Kenny Borthwick gave me permission to quote him:

“I am fat and small. You can make as many jokes as you want to about either fact or both. I will laugh with you and laugh at you laughing at me! Thank you, all my fat friends, skinny friends, skinny small friends, fat small friends, fat tall friends, thin tall friends, average height thin friends, average height fat friends (note, these terms may conjure up different measurements in the Netherlands and Indonesia), friends with long hair, bald friends, friends who want buried, friends who want cremated, friends who are past it (whatever that may mean), friends who should realise they are, friends who are for Brexit, friends who are not, friends who don’t give a jot about it, friends who make me laugh, and friends who don’t understand what I am laughing at, … friends who stayed in the Church of Scotland, and friends who don’t understand why anyone stayed in, friends who love getting dressed up in clerical garb, and friends who don’t like getting dressed up for anyone including the Almighty, friends who love Stornoway black pudding and friends who belch just to think of it, gay friends and friends who think I should not have any, friends who like whisky and friends who are total abstainers, … friends who love Father Ted and those who are horrified I watch it, friends who like Jordan Peterson and friends who think he is a confused plonker, friends who like Brennan Manning and head scratching friends who think that is the name of a crude comedian, friends who speak in tongues and friends I never understand whatever tongue they speak in. Please take it as a given you can not only laugh with me but at me at any time about anything about me. Note, I am not talking about mockery. That is not right except when God is mocking His enemies who absurdly think they can get rid of him. But by all means point out my ridiculousness and help me laugh at it. Point out when I am being absurd. I hope I can laugh with and at you in the nicest of ways (how boring to only be allowed to laugh with one another, how twee, what insecure friendship). If not, well we are probably not friends in any case and both of us the poorer for that. Laughing uproariously and weeping copiously are both signs of living in the Already and Not yet of the Kingdom of Heaven.”

‘Happy are the Peace makers for they shall be called (beloved) Sons of God.’ The ability to ‘not take yourself too seriously’ seems more possible in appreciating how seriously God loves us & is committed to our personal present & permanent wellbeing. We’ve nothing to lose in laughter at our own expense & so much to gain in bulldozing walls & bridge-building. Though Ecclesiastes 3’s ‘timing’ is rather important lest we cause irreparable damage. Kairos(opportunity) timing is something all great comedians seem to have? Thanks for the honesty, vulnerability, love & laughter Kenny! Is there perhaps a left side-right side of the brain thing going on here too? Do we take ourselves too seriously when Mastery extinguishes Mystery or Orthodoxy overwhelms Paradoxy? or am I just barking…?

‘Blessed are those who can laugh at themselves, for they’ll always have much material!’On our weekend at SU’s Gowanbank House, Darvel, dear John Simpson personified this life-affirming ability to laugh at oneself, and trumped our ‘Sad & Solemn Occasion’ game with his straight face & masterful, accidental (?) mixing of words.
Thank you Lord for people like John & Kenny who give us belly-full glimpses of heaven!