Think about it – getting hit by a baseball is probably not funny. But, if it happens to an unsuspecting dad tossing a pitch to his four-year old son who’s swinging a plastic bat of cartoon proportions and the video camera is taping…I dare you not to laugh. A baby in a high chair isn’t hilarious by himself. Neither is buying and selling securities. But when the baby can talk and his pitch about a securities brokerage is interrupted by call on his cell phone to which he replies “hey girl, can I hit you back?” Well, that’s just plain funny.
Why are these funny? In one instance, you have a real life event that is unexpected, unlikely, and out of place. In the other, you have two things put together than are, well unexpected, unlikely, and out of place. In both instances, absurdity makes us laugh.
I watched an original performance this evening that was packed with humor. From video shorts titled Awkward Moments with Roger in which insensitivity was taken to the absurd, to a rewrite of Shakespeare complete audience asides which paired modern marriage themes with the King’s English and men in tights (an absurd combination).
Much more important than the reason I laughed was what laughing did for me. For 90 minutes, I hadn’t a care in the world. I was transported from everything that pushes in and threatens to squelch a sense of joy to a place of emotional pleasure, freedom, and relief.
Behind that performance is some good theology. In fact behind every facet of life there is some good theology – there is not one shred of our existence that God has not thought about or that does not relate directly back to him. I mentioned this was an original performance. That means it was conceived in someone’s imagination and pushed into the world through their effort.
There was a first time in the universe when creative activity took place. God imagined the universe from the tiniest subatomic particle to the largest galaxy and everything in between. Then with no pattern or raw material, He spoke it into existence. Included in this miracle was man, created in the very image of God.
So, like God Himself, a creative mind began to think of humorous absurdities and how they might be played out in performance. Then creative performers came together under creative direction and performed a kind of incarnation where ideas took on form.
I was blessed tonight, not just because I laughed and experienced protection from some of the harshness of life, but because I saw the face of God in the work of His co-creative image bearers. I learned just a little more about how big, diverse, and marvelous God is. The memory of that experience is like a vacation photo that I can tuck away and pull out from time to time and enjoy. Those co-creative image bearers will continue to bless me for days to come. Every time I tell a story about Awkward Roger or Nick in tights, behind them I’ll see Jesus smiling.