Daily Riches: Gargoyles and God’s Therapy (Malcolm Muggeridge)

“Newcomers to the Christian faith, the Journalist finds, are considered, by the nature of the case, to have lost their sense of humour: How funny he used to be! and now, alas, how solemn! how portentous! What an unconscionable bore he has become! This assumption that a sense of humour and a Christian faith are incompatible is totally mistaken. In point of fact, the writers of the great classics of humour – Rebelais, Cervantes, Swift, Gogol – have all been deeply religious. …The true function of humour is to express in terms of the grotesque the immense disparity between human aspiration and human performance. Mysticism expresses the same disparity in terms of the sublime. Hence the close connection between clowns and mystics; hence, too, the juxtaposition on the great medieval cathedrals of steeples reaching up into the Cloud of Unknowing, and gargoyles grinning malevolently down at our dear earth and all it’s foolishness. Laughter and mystical ecstacy, that is to say, both derive from an awareness, in the one case hilarious, in the other ecstatic, of how wide is the chasm between Time and Eternity, between us and our Creator. Let us then, while, as we should, revering the steeples, remember the gargoyles, also, in their way, purveyors of God’s Word, and be thankful that, when the Gates of Heaven swing open, as they do from time to time, mixed with the celestial music there is the unmistakable sound of celestial laughter. … How wonderful it is, this marrying of the ribaldry of gargoyles with the sublimity of steeples, this seeing of a saint in every clown and a clown in every saint, and the Fall of Man as being, at once, the measure and fatality of all our afflictions and the old banana-skin joke on a cosmic scale. …Laughter, indeed, is God’s therapy; He planted the steeples and the gargoyles, gave us clowns as well as saints, in order that we might understand that at the heart of our mortal existence there lies a mystery, at once unutterably beautiful and hilariously funny.” Malcolm Muggeridge

“What are mere mortals … that you should care for them?” Psalm 8:4

 Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Have you noticed the “immense disparity” between your aspirations and performance? Have you noticed it in everyone else too?
  • Can you laugh with the gargoyles at this situation – “unutterably beautiful and hilariously funny?”
  • Imagine “how wide is the chasm” between you and your Creator. Now imagine that Creator being undeterred by that chasm in his love for you.

Abba, thank you for the gargoyles.

For More: Conversion by Malcolm Muggeridge


These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek God and he seeks you. I hope you’ll follow and share it. –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

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