Daily Riches: God Has the Last Laugh (Donald McCullough, William Bausch)

“If God can succumb to the limitation–death–and transform it . . . into the world’s salvation . . . then we can move beyond optimism into an assured hope that our own death will become a doorway into life, a translation into an order of being that we cannot now comprehend. This being the case, we have good reason to believe that all the other limitations, while difficult and often painful, will also become, in the hands of God, instruments of healing and growth that will finally make possible the fulfillment of joy. God has the last laugh, in other words. There is an ancient Russian Orthodox tradition that devotes the day after Easter to sitting around a table and telling jokes. Why? According to William J. Bausch,

They were imitating that cosmic joke that God pulled on Satan in the resurrection. Satan thought he had won, and was smug in his victory, smiling to himself, having had the last word. So he thought. Then God raised Jesus from the dead, and life and salvation become the last words. And the whole world laughed at the devil’s discomfort. This attitude passed into the medieval concept of hilaritas, which did not mean mindless giggling, but that even at the moment of disaster one may wink because he or she knows there is a God.

The limitations of life, by themselves, are no joke. There is nothing funny about bodies wearing out, relationships coming to grief, achievements falling short, money running out, time slipping away, or any of the others. But when we view these things in the light of Easter, we must wink, if not laugh. We know that the story is not yet finished; if it now seems like a tragedy, it will, by an astonishing turn of events, become a comedy.” Donald McCullough

“May your Kingdom come soon.
May your will be done on earth,
as it is in heaven.”
Matthew 6:10 NLT

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • It’s hard to face the tragedy in our world. Can you periodically “go there?”
  • Are you praying daily for the soon coming of God’s kingdom? If not, why not?
  • Can you move “beyond optimism?” Can you laugh no matter how dark the times?

Jesus, may you find me neither in denial, numb or overwhelmed by the tragedy everywhere in my world. In our darkness shine your light.

For More: The Consolations of Imperfection by Donald McCullough



Daily Riches: Women and Their Idle Tales (Frederick Buechner)

“The Sundays after Easter are …precious be­cause, in their comparatively subdued, low-key way, they seem …closer to the reality of the resurrection as you and I are apt to experience it. These everyday Sundays without all the flowers and music and exaltation are like the kind of day that Luke describes in his account of the two disciples on their walk from Jerusalem to Emmaus some seven miles away. They had heard the women’s report about finding the tomb of Jesus empty that morning, but as Luke writes, it ‘seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them.’ They did not believe the women because they found what the women said unbelievable, and then as they trudged along with the evening approaching …Jesus himself­ risen from the dead and alive again – joined them on their way, only they did not know it was Jesus because, again as Luke puts it, ‘their eyes were kept from recognizing him,’ and I think those eyes are almost the most haunting part of the whole haunting story because they remind me so much of my own eyes and because I suspect they may remind you also of yours. How extraordinary to have eyes like that – eyes that look out at this world we live in but, more often than not, see everything except what matters most. …What kept them from recognizing him, of course, was that they thought he was dead and gone, and when he asked them what they had been talking about, that is what they told him in words as full of pathos as any in the New Testament. ‘We had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel,’ they said, but by then their hope was as dead as they believed he was himself. They had gone to the tomb to see if he was alive as some believed but had found no trace of him. …they were so lost in their sad and tangled thoughts that they did not recognize him any more than you and I would probably recognize him as we walk through the world because, like theirs, our eyes are too accustomed to darkness and our faith not strong enough to believe in the reality of light even if it were to blaze up before us.” Frederick Buechner

“We had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel.”
Luke 24:21

 Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Are you dismissive towards women when it comes to spirituality?
  • Are you eyes too “accustomed to darkness” to notice the light?
  • Is your faith sufficient for those times when you are “lost in sad and tangled thoughts?”

Abba, give me eyes to see.

For More: Secrets in the Dark by Frederick Buechner

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