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Topic: Laughter (10/18/04)
TITLE: It Started as a Chuckle
By Hope Horner
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Sarah covered her mouth with her right hand and leaned forward in her seat. She pressed her lips firmly together until they almost disappeared, trying to keep a laugh from bursting out, or worse, a snort. Her mom turned around in the pugh in front of her and shot her a look that said “Get a grip or else!”
But it was all Sarah could do to hold it in. She knew it was only a matter of time before she would lose it and all eyes would be on her as she laughed her way down the aisle and out the back double doors into the foyer of the small Baptist church.
Quietly, she slid forward in her seat, stood up, and worked her way down the pugh—each person given a giggly “excuse me” as she worked her way past strangers in frilly dresses and tailored suits.
She wasn’t trying to be rude. Really. She just couldn’t sit there anymore—watching everyone sit like empty shells--quiet, hands folded, staring at their church bulletin trying to figure out how much time was left before the closing hymn.
Last Sunday, her mom had almost fallen asleep in church for goodness sake--her head bobbing precariously close to the back of the pinewood pugh. Right before Sarah was about to give her mom the “wake up elbow” the pastor yelled something about “sinful thoughts” and mom sat right up with a sniff and nodded her head as if she had heard every word he had said.
This Sunday she told her mom she wanted to sit in a row all by herself. She was 17 after all. Her mom agreed and sat exactly one row in front of her giving her a short leash on freedom.
Sarah had sat next to a man in a sharp blue suit who kept looking at his watch. She watched his leg bounce up and down as he impatiently tapped his heel to a nagging drumbeat only he could hear. She noticed the lady next to him in the flower covered dress, had put on lipstick throughout the opening hymn, the offering, and the prayer requests.
She glanced back at all the people sitting in the rows behind her. They all looked so somber! “What was this, a funeral?” she thought to herself. “Did everyone wish they were somewhere else? Would half the church be snoring when they got to the ‘New Member Welcome’ part of the service?”
Then all of a sudden, she had realized something:
Jesus had saved her!
He had given her the peace that passes all understanding!
She had received the gift of eternal life!
And amidst all of the church-goers tapping their heels, napping, applying make-up, looking at their watch, and blankly staring at the bulletin, Sarah’s joy in finding Jesus overflowed like a fountain in the rain.
It started as a chuckle.
But once she reached the lobby, it turned into a joyful praise song of uncontrollable laughter.
“Then we were filled with laughter and we sang happy songs...The Lord has done great things for us and we are very glad.” Psalm 126:2-3 (NCV)