Back in the days when I was getting paid to minister to and with young people, the small pastoral staff of which I was a part would normally get together on Sunday mornings to pray about the day to come. One particular Sunday, we had talked a bit before getting down to the business of praying, and something had struck me as being pretty hilarious. So, of course, I laughed.
It ended up flowing kind of like this: "Oh man! Ha ha ha! That's funny! Hee hee! Okay, then, let's pray. Father God, thank you so much for this beautiful morning. You've given us so many reasons to praise you and..."
Afterwards, I was asked, "How can you go so quickly from laughing so hard to praying so deeply? It seems like one or the other can't be sincere."
Press pause on the scene.
I've just started reading a book by one of my favorite authors, Brennan Manning; Ruthless Trust: The Ragamuffin's Path to God. I can't even get past the preface without getting out my highlighter and going to work. The following paragraph not only answers the question posed in this blog-post's title, but the final five words touch on the answer to the question about my laughing and praying.
Who and what are the ragamuffins? The unsung assembly of saved sinners who are little in their own sight, conscious of their brokenness and powerlessness before God, and who cast themselves on his Mercy. Startled by the extravagant love of God, they do not require success, fame, wealth, or power to validate their worth. Their spirit transcends all distinctions between the powerful and powerless, educated and illiterate, billionaires and bag ladies, high-tech geeks and low-tech nerds, males and females, the circus and the sanctuary.Truth is...my answer about how I can laugh and pray so closely together was then, and remains today: there's not as much space between hilarity and holiness as some people think.