August 17, 2006

God Brings Laughter

Genesis 21:1-7

"God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me." Genesis 21:6


When was the last time you really laughed? Did you see something really funny or hear a great joke or a hilarious story? Did you laugh with or at someone?

After many twists and turns, we come to the long awaited birth of a child to Abraham and Sarah. Not long before this moment, Abraham and Sarah again pretended to be brother and sister (Genesis 20). But despite twists, turns, and troubles, the Lord is gracious and gives Sarah the promised child.

Because of Abraham and Sarah's laughter, the child is named Isaac, which means "he laughs" (17:19; 18:12). In our reading for today we also hear an invitation from Sarah: "Laugh with me." Laugh at the thought of an old man and an old woman having a baby. Laugh at the thought that God's sense of humor is rooted in the joy of the gracious blessing of a long-awaited child.

Some people practice Christian life with the monotone of solemnity. Though reverence has its place, to never laugh is to ignore God's invitation to move from sin and sorrow to forgiveness and grace. The deceptions of Abraham and Sarah were serious sins that led to brokenness and misery. And yet God still brought laughter.

Do we hear the invitation? Do we understand that we can really laugh only because of the grace and goodness of God? Laugh with Sarah! You'll be in good company.

God of laughter, thank you for the gift of joy that fills a heart in tune with your ways, grace, and forgiveness. May our lives show that we are changed in Jesus' name. Amen.

About the author — Julius T. Medenblik

Rev. Jul Medenblik is a former attorney who was called to pastoral ministry and became the founding pastor of a church in New Lenox, Illinois. He is currently serving as president of Calvin Theological Seminary, Grand Rapids, Michigan. Jul and his wife, Jackie, are blessed with a son, Joshua, and a daughter, Julianne.

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