St Mary's Uttoxeter

Laughter Sunday

4 Apr 2024 • Articles

One of my earliest childhood recollections is standing on the front doorstep with mother as we waited for the bus to take my brother off to school. As I stood there a young Jean Sargeant shouted across the road to me saying that I had dropped my handkerchief and, as I looked on the ground for it, she gleefully added ‘April Fool!’ Yes, it’s April and the month begins with light-hearted jest – and some slight embarrassment for those caught out. With humour being in short supply at the moment, maybe a little laughter wouldn’t hurt.

Looking at the lectionary for the month, I was mindful that the Sunday after Easter was traditionally referred to as Low Sunday; possibly because of the contrast with the high celebration of Easter Day, or even because congregation numbers were typically lower. Another theory is that ‘Low’ was simply a corruption of the word ‘Laudes’ meaning praise. Whatever the reason, the name seems to have disappeared from common use. In fact, a couple of years ago I discovered a new name for this particular Sunday… Holy Humour Sunday or Laughter Sunday.

With much going on in the world that is very unsettling, it’s no wonder that people are becoming disillusioned. Disillusioned with world powers and leaders, disillusioned with politics, even disillusioned with the weather! During that first Easter week the disciples were afraid, and locked themselves in the room where they stayed. Not only were they fearful, but they would also have been disillusioned, and probably hurting from all that they had lost. We cannot fully imagine the immense joy they experienced when the risen Christ burst into their places of darkness. For them this was the start of something wonderfully new which gained momentum through this feeling of joy.

Most of us would agree that joy and laughter are important things, yet many people experience worship in churches where laughter and even the sound of children is still frowned upon. For some reason, many have equated devout religion with solemnity, which is rather sad. Joy and laughter can lead us to healing. Sometimes God’s grace comes to us in the form of humour that helps us make it through another day. Recognising that humour is a characteristic of the divine nature helps us deepen our understanding of the nature of God; remembering that God laughs at us and with us – and that laughter is an expression of God’s love and acceptance.

May we all be so infected with the joy of this Eastertide, that both our fellowship and our secular lives will reflect that love and acceptance that God desires, and that we can overcome disillusionment with laughter – even if we just laugh at ourselves.

So, I leave you with this…

A vicar requested quotes from local painters to redecorate the exterior of the parish hall. All the quotes were within a few pounds of one another, except for one by a parishioner who had been in business for years and had an excellent reputation in the community. His quote was about half of his competitors, so naturally the vicar gave him the job. On the day he was to begin, the painter realised that he had miscalculated badly. Not wanting to lose face and the job, he decided to add water to the paint to make it go further. A week later he received a phone call from the vicar, complaining that after recent rain half the paint had washed off. Feeling a sense of guilt, the painter went inside the church to pray about his dilemma, knowing that his business reputation was on the line. “What can I possibly do, Lord?” prayed the disheartened painter. In a loud voice God replied, “Repaint! Repaint and thin no more!”

With Blessings and Big Smiles,


Revd John Lander, Self-Supporting Minister within the Area, especially for Bramshall.