God Laughs

“Laughter is the closest thing to the grace of God,” once remarked a theologian. He was right. Put kids and bible together and you are in for a good laugh!

During catechism class, the teacher was explaining how God created the world and all it contains. Little Joseph was not particularly interested but his focus came back when he heard how God created woman out of one of Adam’s ribs. A few days later, his mother noticed him lying down as if he was ill and asked what the matter is. Little Joseph was solemn when he answered “I have a severe pain in my side. I think I am going to have a wife!’

Well, scripture can become very personal. This other boy was really caught up with the phrase taken from Genesis “Dust you are and to dust you will return.” His mother was wondering what was going through his mind because many times he brought this sentence up before going to bed. Still she did not expect this rejoinder when he spelled out his concerns. “Well, mum, the truth is that under my bed there is someone either coming or going…I am frightened.” When mother looked under the bed and saw how it was full of balls of dust, she understood… and smiled.

Two short witty dialogues at school. The teacher was describing how Lot’s wife looked back and turned into a pillar of salt. Little Jason interrupted, “My Mummy looked back once, while she was driving,” he announced triumphantly, “and she turned into a telephone pole!”

“Larry, do you think Noah did a lot of fishing when he was on the Ark?”  “Obviously not,” replied Larry. “How could he, with just two worms?” Smart observation, no?

This is thrilling. Nine-year-old Joey rushed out of class. He was visibly keyed up. When his father asked him what is this excitement all about, the son narrated an outlandish story. “Well, dad, our teacher told us how God sent Moses behind enemy lines on a rescue mission to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. When he got to the Red Sea, he had his army build a pontoon bridge and all the people walked across safely. Then, he radioed headquarters for reinforcements. They sent bombers to blow up the bridge and all the Israelites were saved.”  “Now, Joey, is that really what your teacher taught you?” his father asked. “Well, no, dad. But, if I told it the way the teacher did, you’d never believe it!” Thinking about it, perhaps Joey was right!

There is a rabbinical flavor to this one. “Mr. Goldblatt,” announced little Joshua, “there’s something I can’t figure out.” “What’s that, Joshua?” asked Goldblatt. “Well, according to the Bible, the Children of Israel crossed the Red Sea, right?” “Right.” “And the Children of Israel beat up the Philistines, right?” “Er, right.” “And the Children of Israel built the Temple, right?” “Again you’re right.” “And the Children of Israel fought the Egyptians, and the Children of Israel fought the Romans, and the Children of Israel were always doing something important, right?” “All that is right, too,” agreed Goldblatt. “So what’s your question?” “What were all the grown-ups doing?” God laughs because God knows how it all turns out in the end!

The moral of the following story is, I suppose, that it is risky to mess with children. The teacher was explaining that it was physically impossible for a whale to swallow a human because even though it was a very large mammal its throat was very small. The little girl was not impressed. She explained to the teacher that the Bible says that the whale gulped down Jonah. The teacher explained again that this was not viable. The little girl insisted, “I do not know how it happened but it did happen and when I get to heaven I will ask Jonah”. “And what if Jonah went to hell?” the teacher retorted. “Then you ask him” was the candid answer of the girl.

Again during a religion class, the teacher was discussing the Ten Commandments with her five and six year olds. After explaining the commandment to honor your father and your mother, she asked, “Is there a commandment that teaches us how to treat our brothers and sisters?” Without missing a beat one little boy – he must have been the oldest of a family - answered, “Thou shall not kill.”

“Laughter is an instant vacation!” Let us go on vacation more often!

(c) Fr. Pius Sammut, OCD. Permission is hereby granted for any non-commercial use, provided that the content is unaltered from its original state, if this copyright notice is included.