Holy Humor Sunday: Celebrate 30 years of laughter with your congregation

“We believe with Chrysostom that ‘laughter has been implanted in our souls.’
We believe with Aquinas that there is a time for ‘playful deeds and jokes.’
We believe with Luther that ‘You have as much laughter as you have faith.’”

Part of a Communion of Saints Affirmation of Humor, compiled by Chris Anderson

 

Four women on chairs laughing together, against white background

Bring the joy of laughter back into the pews—and revive a centuries-old custom—by celebrating Holy Humor Sunday. Photo by TheArches, courtesy of Flickr

SUNDAY, APRIL 12: It’s the 30th year of laughter, mirth and plain ol’ guffawing with Holy Humor Sunday, an occasion for joy that continues the celebration of the Resurrection.

For centuries, the week following Easter was filled with festivities like picnics, visits and shared feasts, and that Sunday—Bright Sunday—kept alive the spirit of lightheartedness and joy. In efforts to change what has become one of the Sundays of lowest attendance in the church year, many pastors across America have tried to bringing back the laughter with Holy Humor Sunday. This year, the Joyful Noiseletter is publishing a slew of prop and sermon suggestions, stories and jokes, to share the glee and stir up some giggles in every congregation.

ReadTheSpirit editor David Crumm is mentioned in the Joyful Noiseletter’s 30th anniversary edition this year, as former religion writer for the Detroit Free Press and one of the journalists to report on the healing laughter aroused on Holy Humor Sunday. Sleeping bags in church? Wearing baseball uniforms to the Sunday service? Playing practical jokes? It could seem that nothing is sacred on Holy Humor Sunday—pun intended.

THE EASTER LAUGH

Early Church theologians like Augustine, Gregory of Nyssa and John Chyrostom noted how God played a practical joke on the devil by raising Jesus from the dead—and called it the Easter laugh. In 1988, the Fellowship of Merry Christians began promoting a resurgence of Bright Sunday celebrations, terming it “Holy Humor Sunday.”

Interested to learn more? Find updates, sermon suggestions, joke ideas and more at JoyfulNoiseletter.com and at the blog, God is Still Laughing.

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