We know that laughter is great for our wellbeing, builds relationships and helps us deal with failure, but does it have anything to teach us about God?
Christianity has had a very mixed relationship with it. The puritans and some saints condemned it outright but the writer of Ecclesiastes says that there is a time to laugh, as well as a time to weep. And in the medieval church, the Easter service included uproarious jokes so that the people greeted the Resurrection with an outburst of joyful laughter.
Tricia Hillas says that joy and laughter are profound gifts which can lead us into a deeper understanding of God and what it means to be the children of God. She also says that if we want to change the world, especially in dark times, we must change it with radical joy.
In this afternoon, we will explore the place of delight, wonder, joy and laughter in the spiritual life and in becoming people of change and hope in the world.
Tricia Hillas is Canon Pastor at St Paul’s Cathedral. Before ordination, she was a social worker specialising in working with people with HIV/Aids and she has recently completed her MSc in conflict resolution and mediation.