April 23, 2017
Holy Humor Sunday; Hoedown Style
Rev. Dinah Haag, preaching
There was a teacher who was helping one of her kindergarten students put on his cowboy boots, because even with her pulling and him pushing, the little boots still didn't want to go on. By the time they got the second boot on, she had worked up a good sweat.
She almost cried when the little boy said, 'Teacher, they're on the wrong feet.' She looked, and sure enough, they were. It wasn't any easier pulling the boots off than it was putting them on. She managed to keep her cool as together they worked to get the boots back on, this time on the correct feet. He then announced, 'These aren't my boots.'
She bit her tongue rather than get right in his face and scream, 'Why didn't you say so?' like she wanted to. Once again, she struggled to help him pull the ill-fitting boots off his little feet. No sooner had they gotten the boots off when he said, 'They're my brother's boots. My mom made me wear 'em.'
Now she didn't know if she should laugh or cry.. But, she mustered up what grace and courage she had left to wrestle the boots on his feet again. Helping him into his coat, she asked, 'Now, where are your mittens?’ He said, 'I stuffed 'em in the toes of my boots.'
For the simple things in life that gladden our hearts, let us sing our opening hymn, S 68.
In thinking about our young’un’s and teaching them how to be good people after God’s heart, we may have forgotten some of the wisdom passed on to us. So here are a few
Things a Cowboy or Cowgirl (and real people) Should Not Do
- Don't dig for water under the outhouse.
- Don’t squat with your spurs on.
- Don't mess with something that ain't bothering you.
- Never miss a good chance to keep your mouth shut.
- Never ask a barber if you need a haircut.
- Don't judge people by their relatives.
- When you lose, don't lose the lesson.
Then there is Cow people (and Real People) Wisdom and Humor
- Always drink upstream from the herd.
- Always take a good look at what you’re about to eat. It’s not so important to know what it is, but it’s critical to know what it was.
- If you're ridin' ahead of the herd, take a look back every now and then to make sure it's still there with ya.
- Timing has a lot to do with the outcome of a rain dance.
- Good judgment comes from experience, and a lotta that comes from bad judgment.
In case it’s still a little vague, there is a theme this morning, and it has to do with roosters. I don’t exactly remember how Marti Mollema came up with the idea of an altar theme around a rooster, but I love that she included the classic picture of a rooster on the box of Corn Flakes. And the last song the choir sang, The Rooster Crows, is such a good reminder of the lesson we can learn from the apostle Peter - and his failure - when he denied Christ three times. It’s always good when we can find meaning and lessons in what can seem strange or even unrelated to an event.
Lena called her neighbor and said, “Please come over and help me. I have a very difficult jigsaw puzzle, and I can’t figure out how to get started.”
Her neighbor asked, “What is it supposed to be when it’s finished?”
Lena said, “According to the picture on the box, it’s a rooster.”
Her neighbor decided to go over and help her with the puzzle. When he arrived, Lena showed him the puzzle spread out all over the table. He studied the pieces for a moment, then looked at the box, then turned to her and said:
“First of all, no matter what we do, we’re not going to be able to assemble these pieces into anything resembling a rooster.” Then he took her hand and said, “Secondly, I want you to relax. Let’s have a nice cup of tea, and then...” and he said this with a deep sigh...
“Let’s put all the Corn Flakes back in the box.”
3. Acts 1:1-5
1 In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach 2 until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. 3 After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. 4 On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”
Thank you, Julie. I chose this passage for this morning, because it is the most succinct snapshot of why Christians don’t have to walk around with a long face. A horrible thing happened in Christ’s torture and death. But his story and our story doesn’t stop with death. Our story continues - with life and light and love and grace and mercy and healing. Over the years, we all get our fair share of grief and hardships, and we can pray over them and work through them. But joy and gladness have a place in our lives, too, helping us lead balanced lives here on earth. We may not celebrate with cigars and cognac as the priests did for centuries. But we still commemorate tradition in that which can lift our hearts and bring God glory.
Although we don’t know the child, we have his or her version of the Bible in a nutshell or so the title so stated.
In the beginning, which occurred near the start, there was nothing but God, darkness, and some gas. The Bible says, 'The Lord thy God is one,' but I think He must be a lot older than that.
Anyway, God said, 'Give me a light!' and someone did. Then God made the world.
He split the Adam and made Eve. Adam and Eve were naked, but they weren't embarrassed because mirrors hadn't been invented yet.
Adam and Eve disobeyed God by eating one bad apple, so they were driven from the Garden of Eden. Not sure what they were driven in though, because they didn't have cars.
Adam and Eve had a son, Cain, who hated his brother as long as he was Abel.
Pretty soon all of the early people died off, except for Methuselah, who lived to be like a million or something.
One of the next important people was Noah, who was a good guy, but one of his kids was kind of a Ham. Noah built a large boat and put his family and some animals on it. He asked some other people to join him, but they said they would have to take a rain check.
After Noah, came Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Jacob was more famous than his brother, Esau, because Esau sold Jacob his birthmark, in exchange for some pot roast. Jacob had a son named Joseph who wore a really loud sports coat.
Another important Bible guy is Moses, whose real name was Charlton Heston. Moses led the Israel Lights out of Egypt and away from the evil Pharaoh after God sent ten plagues on Pharaoh's people. These plagues included frogs, mice, lice, bowels, and no cable.
God fed the Israel Lights every day with manicotti. Then he gave them His Top Ten Commandments. These include: don't lie, cheat, smoke, dance, or covet your neighbor's stuff. Oh, yeah, I just thought of one more: Humor thy father and thy mother.
One of Moses' best helpers was Joshua who was the first Bible guy to use spies. Joshua fought the battle of Geritol and the fence fell over on the town.
After Joshua came David. He got to be king by killing a giant with a slingshot. He had a son named Solomon who had about 300 wives and 500 porcupines. My teacher says he was wise, but that doesn't sound very wise to me.
After Solomon there were a bunch of major league prophets. One of these was Jonah, who was swallowed by a big whale and then barfed up on the shore. There were also some minor league prophets, but I guess we don't have to worry about them.
After the Old Testament came the New Testament. Jesus is the star of The New. He was born in Bethlehem in a barn. (I wish I had been born in a barn too, because my mom is always saying to me, 'Close the door! Were you born in a barn?' It would be nice to say, 'As a matter of fact, I was.')
Jesus also had twelve opossums. The worst one was Judas Asparagus. Judas was so evil that they named a terrible vegetable after him.
Jesus was a great man. He healed many leopards and even preached to some Germans on the Mount.
But those guys put Jesus on trial before Pontius the Pilot. Pilot didn't stick up for Jesus. He just washed his hands instead.
Anyways, Jesus died for our sins, then came back to life again. He went up to Heaven but will be back at the end of the Aluminum. His return is foretold in the book of Revolution.
Jesus’ most well known sermon is the Sermon on the Mount, and perhaps most of us have heard it a time or two. I think that part of the reason are attracted to humor is because behind the delight and joy, there is often great truth. So may God bless all of us in these Beatitudes for the Weird, whoever wrote them.
Blessed are the weird people
—poets, misfits, writers, mystics
heretics, painters & troubadours--
for they teach us to see the world through different eyes
Blessed are those who embrace the intensity of life’s pain and pleasure,
for they shall be rewarded with uncommon ecstasy.
Blessed are ye who see beauty in ugliness,
for you shall transform our vision of how the world might be.
Blessed are the bold and whimsical,
for their imagination shatters ancient boundaries of fear for us all.
Blessed are ye who are mocked for unbridled expression of love in all its forms,
because your kind of crazy is exactly that freedom
for which the world is unconsciously begging.
Blessed are those who have endured breaking by life,
for they are the resplendent cracks through which the light shines.
May God shine through all our cracks and crack-ups and corny attempts at life. And all God’s folks say, Amen.