Tuesday, April 21, 2009
First Congregational in Danbury to celebrate Holy Humor Sunday
By Nanci G. Hutson
DANBURY -- If you like your fellowship sprinkled with laughter and high jinks, First Congregational Church will be the place to be Sunday morning. Its members will use the first Sunday after Easter, known as Holy Humor Sunday, to celebrate God's sense of humor. It's an ancient tradition based on the idea that Easter was God's "supreme joke played on death," the Rev. Laura Westby said in an announcement to her congregation.
For centuries Catholic, Orthodox Christians and Protestants around the world have considered this a day for "joy and laughter," parties, picnics and playing practical jokes on one another, Westby said. "These customs were rooted in the musings of early church theologians that God played a practical joke on the devil by raising Jesus from the dead," she said. In that spirit, First Church on the past two Holy Humor Sundays has had a frivolous and light-hearted worship service while still embracing the magnitude of the Resurrection as God's gift of eternal life. Sunday's service will be its third. Westby will remind the congregation of the rich blessings they have despite world strife and a dour economy. She's asked them to come adorned in their tackiest "bling" -- fake jewelry, feather boas and other silly accessories -- and to bring a "sense of humor, because it can be a little goofy."
The service will include singing hymns, a few with a humorous twist, and parishioners sharing stories of how God has blessed them in their daily lives, Westby said. "It's a more light-hearted service than our typical Sunday, although we have a lot of fun most Sundays."
Though fake finery is encouraged, she emphasized all tithes and offerings must be legal tender -- "Monopoly money won't pay the bills." Church moderator Lisa Lettieri said she plans to wear every piece of jewelry she owns, no matter how gaudy the result.
The more a worship service touches people-- through their spiritual side or their "funny bone" -- the better, Lettieri said. Church newcomers and faithful members "all need a good laugh."
"We're doing this," Wesby continued, "because we have such tremendous faith in God's ability to bring joy and abundance in this time when people are so concerned about the economy, losing jobs and those kinds of things. "We're not denying that all those things are real, but those things are not the last word for us."
Posted by padre seraphim at 21.4.09