Apr 11 – Worship Service – Holy Humour Sunday

Apr 4 – Worship Service – Easter Sunday
April 4, 2021
April 18 – Worship Service – Earth Day
April 18, 2021

Apr 11 – Worship Service – Holy Humour Sunday

Rev Lohnes                                           

        Sunday April 11, 2021 – Holy Humour Sunday


According to medieval custom this is the Sunday when we are celebrating the greatest joke ever played, the joke God played a on death by raising Jesus for the dead.  It is a Sunday of joy and laughter as we continue the celebration of Christ’s resurrection, which began at Easter, much as we continue the celebration of Christmas on the Sunday following the 25th of December.  So, this year we are going to take a page out of our Christmas celebrations and apply it to Easter with a service of Carols, scriptures, poems and prayers.

Time of Laughter

Normally we begin our service with a time of quiet centering, but this morning we begin with a time of laughter.  Science has proven that laughter is extremely good for us.  It boosts not only our mood but also our immune system.  It can even help eliminated those cravings to pig out when you’re are in a bad mood.  So, I want to invite you to try something new with me.  It’s called Laughter Yoga.  Now you can do this sitting down or standing up but you do get a better workout when you are standing up because you can breathe deeper.

So, you can either stand or sit, but we begin by taking a deep breath in.  As you do this, raise your arms up as if you are gathering the air.  Now turn your hands over and push down as you breathe out Ho, Ho, Ho, Ho.  Ok let’s try that.

Now holding your arms up in front of you at chest level.  Take a deep breathe in.  As you exhale, cross you arms back and forth with Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha.

OK, last one.  Put your hands on your shoulders.  Breathe in.  As you breathe out flap your arms like wings and exhale, He, He, He, He.

Candle Lighting

We begin our worship now by relighting the candle that we call our Christ Candle as we celebrate that the light of Christ which came into our world long ago continues to shine today not only in this candle, but in the lives of each one of us and of all who strive to live in the love and joy that he offers.

Call to Worship  

We gather to worship the God of laughter

Whose sense of humour turns a tiny mustard seed into a tree,

Who hides the extraordinary promise of new life, in an ordinary loaf of bread,

Whose humour even sends ripples laughing across the surface of the river of death.

Like a trickster, God turns our sad and serious world topsy-turvy.

A dry bulb, buried in the ground, bursts into flower.

A dead looking cocoon breaks open and a beautiful butterfly appears.

A child dances into a mud puddle and all those watching burst into laughter.

As we gather to worship may our praise break forth in the most unlikely of places and in the silliest ways.

May joy fill our hearts with song and with laughter as we worship our laughing God. 

 Easter Carol

I was going to ask who had a favor Christmas Carol, but when I decided I wanted to put the words on the power point, that became a bit problematic.  So instead, we are going to begin with one of my favorite carols, Joy to the World.

 Joy to the World

Joy to the World, the Lord’s alive,

Awake, rejoice and sing!
It’s just as He had said,
He’s risen from the dead.
Salvation now He brings, Salvation now He brings,
Salvation, salvation now He brings.

Joy to the World, the empty tomb,
Proclaims a victory.
Of light compelling,
A great dispelling
Of darkness in the world, Of darkness in the world,
Of darkness, of darkness in the world.

Joy to the World,
Our Savior reigns,
Let Heaven and earth proclaim
The glories of

His righteousness,
And wonders of His love, And wonders of His love,
And wonders, wonders of His love.

Words written by Paul Lintern.  ©2004 by Paul Lintern. Used with permission.

Opening Prayer (in unison)

O Great Laughing God, we come into your presence with joy and longing to be surprised.  We thank you that you have given to us the gift of laughter and delight.

These things give hints as to the nature of your purpose for us and for all the earth.

May we find that in giving up to laughter there is healing and hope and abundance and blessing.  Tickle our souls with the brush of your Spirit to renew our worship and our living. Amen. ~ from the United Church of Canada’s Bay of Quinte Conference

 Scripture Reading

We don’t often think of God as laughing, but there is plenty of evidence in the Bible of God’s sense of humour.  Take the story of Abraham and Sarah.  They were visited by two strangers who, according to Genesis, turned out to be Divine messengers.

Genesis 18:8-11 and Genesis 21:1-3, 6-7

Abraham then served his guests some yogurt and milk together with the meat.

While they were eating, he stood near them under the trees, and they asked, “Where is your wife, Sarah?”

“She is right there in the tent,” Abraham answered.

One of the guests was the Lord, and he said, “I’ll come back about this time next year, and when I do, Sarah will already have a son.”

Sarah was behind Abraham, listening at the entrance to the tent.  Abraham and Sarah were very old, and Sarah was well past the age for having children.  So she laughed and said to herself, “Now that I am worn out and my husband is old, will I really know such happiness?”

The Lord was good to Sarah and kept his promise.  Although Abraham was very old, Sarah had a son exactly at the time God had said.  Abraham named his son Isaac, which means Laughter and Sarah said, “God has made me laugh. Now everyone will laugh with me.  Who would have dared to tell Abraham that someday I would have a child?  But in his old age, I have given him a son.”


God smiles — written by John Birch

God smiles, this much I know for God created laughter
so that we might join in the enjoyment of creative energy.
Those wonderful colour schemes of bird, butterfly and flower.
The shapes and expressions on so many creatures and insects.
These weren’t created by a boring God.
They were drawn and planned by a God with a sense of humour and that’s a comforting thought!

Easter Carol               Hark the Herald Angel Said

Hark the Herald Angel said,
Why seek Jesus with the dead?
He’s not here, as you can see,
Graveclothes lie where he would be.
On your way now, tell the others,
Jesus will be with his brothers.
Sisters, too, he wants to see
on the hills of Galilee.
Hark the Herald Angel said,
He is risen from the dead.

Words written by Paul Lintern.  ©2004 by Paul Lintern. Used with permission.

Scripture Reading

The Book of Psalms constantly calls people to sing praise and worship God with joy.  But there is one Psalm that always makes me smile.  It is Psalm 104.  It talks about all the wonders that God created and it mentions the great Sea Monster, Leviathan, that God creates for one reason and one reason only, so that Leviathan might play, frolic or splash in the sea.

Psalm 104:24-28

Our Lord, by your wisdom you made so many things; the whole earth is covered with your living creatures.   But what about the ocean so big and wide?  It is alive with creatures, large and small.   And there are the ships, as well as Leviathan, the monster you created to frolic in the sea.   All of these depend on you to provide them with food, and you feed each one with your own hand, until they are full.

A Prayer for Holy Humour Sunday  — written by Thom M. Shuman

You smiled and the sun burst through the shadows of chaos;
You chuckled, and the platypus splashed in creation’s fountain;
You laughed, and all that is good and beautiful was given shape by You,
Imaginative God.
Snickering at the feeble attempts of the evil one,
You showed us how to resist temptation;
Giggling at sin’s desperate desire to hold on to us,
You released us by Your Love;
Howling with laughter at death’s foolish belief that the tomb could hold You,
You burst forth into the kingdom as the stars pealed with joy,
Laughing Jesus.
As you fill us with new life, may we delight in sharing it with others;
as you tell us the good news which can never be taken from us,
may we rejoice in offering it to the broken, the sad, the lonely;
as you tickle us with grace, may we give it away with laughter on our lips
and joy in our hearts,
Spirit of Easter.
God in Community, Holy in One, our hearts overflow with wonder
as we lift our prayers to you.


Easter Carol               Away in a Garden

Away in a garden they laid him to rest

God’s son, the beloved the greatest and best

But death could not hold him he rose from the grave

By his resurrection my soul he did save.


The cross is now empty there’s no need to mourn

Christ Jesus has risen, for this he was born

To show us God’s promise, to show us God’s love

To promise us life with our saviour above.


So, sing and rejoice on this great Easter Day

God’s love, never ending, will show us the way

To live in the image of Jesus our king

And so, as we praise him, hosannas we sing.

Words written by Sharon Lohnes.  Used with permission.

 Scripture Reading

Proverbs, is a book that offers sage advice on how to live a Godly life.

From Proverbs 17:22 A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.

From Proverbs 15:13 A joyful heart makes a cheerful face, but with a heartache comes depression.

And from Proverbs 15:15 For the despondent, every day brings trouble; for the happy heart, life is a continual feast.

Responsive Prayer of Confession

Let’s join in our responsive Prayer of Confession, which incorporates part of our United Church creed.  Let us pray.

We believe in God, who has created and is creating,

We live, we love, we laugh, because we are made in the image of the Divine.

We believe in God, who has come in Jesus, the Word made flesh.

He had the last laugh on the death when He rose from the dead.

We believe in God, who works in us and others by the Spirit.

Within that Spirit is the joy, the laughter, the wonder and the promise of all that life could be.

Forgive us, Divine Laughter, when we take ourselves too seriously, when we don’t claim the happiness that is rightfully ours as part of your wondrous creation.

Forgive us, Divine Laughter, when we forget that you will always have the last laugh.

Restore in us the overwhelming joy of knowing we are loved. Amen.

Easter Carol,              It Came upon a Sunrise Bright

It came upon a sunrise bright,
that glorious promise anew,
That Jesus, though he was crucified,
now lives for me and for you.
Peace on earth, goodwill to all,
from Heaven rejoicing on high,
The world with joyful dancing shares

The news that He is alive.

The women with their spices came,
the body to anoint,
They found the tomb was empty and

they heard an angel appoint.
The time, the place, the reason why,
you’ll find your Jesus on high,
And then in joy the woman shared
the news that He is alive.

Words written by Paul Lintern.  ©2004 by Paul Lintern. Used with permission.

Scripture Reading

We’ve heard a number of scriptures about God’s sense of humour.  But what about Jesus?  Did Jesus have a sense of humour?  Well try to image him saying either of the following things without at least a bit of a twinkle in his eye.  Do we really take seriously images that are so comical and totally ridiculous?

Luke 18:25

“Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”

Matthew 7:3

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?”


And speaking of a twinkling in the eye, with many apologies to one of the most famous poems of all time,

T’was the Morning of Easter.

T’was the morning of Easter and the devil was thinking

I’ve killed their Messiah, their hearts must be sinking

He hung on a cross for the whole world to see

“I did it, I killed him”, he giggled with glee

His followers they hid, and they looked every door

Once they’d been happy, but not any more

And God in his heaven, he must be so sad

He’s mourning the death of his son, the poor lad

When all of a sudden, a chuckle began

It grew louder and louder and louder and than

It was clear that the laughter was coming from God

That didn’t seem right, it seemed strange, it seemed odd

His mood that had been all so sad and so serious

Was now filled with laughter, it seemed quite hilarious

The dawn it was breaking, the sun shining bright

It should have been raining, this just wasn’t right

The stone that had once stood across the tomb door

Was shattered and broken, but O there was more

The grave cloths that had once wrapped tightly God’s son

Were folded and laid out in a row, one by one

But how can this be, the devil cried in despair

“He was dead and I know it, and yet he’s not there.”

God laughed all the louder, with a great grin he said

“You failed, for I raised my dear son from the dead

I know that you hated the way that he spoke

You hated the way that he helped common folk

You hated the way that he made them feel glad

That he healed the sick and brought joy to the sad

You hated the message he brought them from me

That the lame ones would walk and the blind ones would see

That the sad would find joy and the prisoner’s release

They would all know my love, they would all know my peace

You thought you could stop it, this message I send

But it only grows stronger it never will end

He lives and now soon all who know him will see

That love and not fear is the true path to me.”

The devil, not shaken by all this good cheer

“They’ll never believe it”, he said with a sneer

“Some will and some won’t,” God agreed with a nod

“But I’ll love them the same and I’ll still be their God

And the ones who believe it, well they’ll tell a friend

And the message of love will go on without end.

It’s already started, look there, can’t you see

The women are laughing, they’re laughing with me.

They’ve told his Disciples and they’re laughing too.

The laughter is growing in spite of you.”

The devil got mad, “it’s not over he shouted

You can’t save them all and there’s no doubt about it.”

God shook his head, “you just don’t understand

That’s why I sent him Son of God, Son of Man.

I sent him to show them, not with words by with action

That no one is lost beyond hope or compassion.

They all are my children, I love every human

That’s why I saved Jesus, and that’s why I’ll save them.”

And so, with a twinkle, God turns now to say,

“Happy Easter to all, and to all a good day.”

Holy Humor Sunday Prayer  — written by Thom M. Shuman

Let Us Pray:

Dour-faced in the presence of stunning sunsets;

stricken with chronic severity while surrounded by gurgling babies;

frozen-souled when touched by the warmth of grace;

If we are made in your image, it’s no wonder people think of you as a grouchy old geezer, God of Joy.

So, breathe on us . . . fill our souls with:

laughter which chases away the long faces;

chuckles which wipe frowns off our brows;

great guffaws which shatter hardened hearts;

Fill us, Breath of side-splitting shrieks,

So, we can celebrate the last laugh on death.


Easter Carol     Gentle Mary’s Son Was Laid

Gentle Mary’s son was laid in a lowly garden

There he lay for 3 whole days, our sin and shame to pardon.

But he rose on Easter Day, bringing us salvation

Spreading hope and joy and peace into every nation.


Soldiers tried to guard the tomb to prevent his leaving

Women came with spices sweet to express their grieving

But God had another plan called the resurrection

Only God’s love could achieve such Divine Perfection.


So, we celebrate this day, Jesus Christ has risen

Death has lost its final power; new hope has been given

Life forever, life indeed, savouring God’s glory

That is what we celebrate, that’s our Easter Story.

Words written by Sharon Lohnes.  Used with permission.

Prayers of the People    ~ adapted from worship resources by Rex Hunt

Holy One, we celebrate that whenever your people are gathered together in love,

You are present with us and life is full.  We celebrate that we are immersed in your mystery, that our lives are more than they seem.  We belong to each other and to a universe of great creative energies, whose source and destiny is you, our God.

We celebrate that your spirit beat in the heart of Jesus of Nazareth, and that through him the good news of your healing, embracing and liberating love was heard by the broken, the lonely and all those bound by life’s sorrows and struggles.

We celebrate that the spirit of peace and hope is present with us and though us.

In our struggle to love we incarnate your holy presence in our world.

And so, aware of the hurts and longings all of us carry, the awe and wonder that is around us, and the gifts of faith that is ours, we pause and we become ever aware

of the sacredness of our lives and in the lives of others. (silent reflection)

In that awareness may we act and speak and live.  May it be so…

Easter Carol     Go tell it on the Mountain

Chorus:     Go tell it on the mountain, over the hills and everywhere,

Go tell it on the mountain that Jesus is alive.

While soldiers watched the gravesite That quiet Sunday dawn
There came a big commotion and then the storm was gone.

The women found no body their spices to anoint,
Instead they found an angel, God’s message to appoint.

Go from where He isn’t to where He said He’d be.
An Eastertime reunion, the hills of Galilee.

Words written by Paul Lintern.  ©2004 by Paul Lintern. Used with permission.

Sending Out

Instead of sending you out with a traditional blessing I want to send you out today with the words of A Clown’s Prayer

As I stumble through this life, help me to create more laughter than tears,
dispense more happiness than gloom, spread more cheer than despair.

Never let me become so indifferent, that I will fail to see the wonders in the eyes of a child, or the twinkle in the eyes of the aged.

Never let me forget that my total effort is to cheer people, make them happy, and forget momentarily, all the unpleasantness in their lives.

And in my final moment, may I hear You whisper:
“When you made My people smile, you made Me smile.”

— Anonymous

Easter Carol

Every year on Christmas Eve we to go out with the Carol Silent Night.  So today, we are going to go out to the Carol Beautiful Day

 Beautiful Day

Beautiful Day, Glorious Day
All is new, all’s okay!
‘Round the tomb
There is dancing and song,
See inside that the body is gone.
Christ, the Savior’s alive,
Christ, the Savior’s alive.

Beautiful Day, Glorious Day,
Soldier’s quake and run away,
The stone is cleared from heaven above,
Heavenly host says “Hallelujah,”
Jesus, Lord, at new birth,
Jesus, Lord, at new birth.

Beautiful Day, Glorious Day,
Sing and shout, tell and say,
Radiant beams from this sinner’s face,
Show because of amazing grace,
Christ, the Savior’s alive,
Christ, the Savior’s alive.

Words written by Paul Lintern.  ©2004 by Paul Lintern. Used with permission.


1 Comment

  1. Sheila Ivanochko says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading this service! Please tell me the author of “T’was the Morning of Easter”?
    I would like to use it during children’s time on Holy Humour Sunday, but wish to credit the poet.

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