According to Phil Stone, director of the Scargill Movement, joy and laughter are two subjects one should take very seriously indeed. Joy and laughter are not incidental to the Christian walk – they sustain it as they enrich it. Tricia Hillas and Andrew Corsie, both vicars in London, ran a course here last week entitled ‘Taking Joy and Laughter Seriously’ and while being an absolute blast it has also given us a lot of food for thought. In amongst the clips, quotes and brainstorms, the material covered the health benefits of laughing (reducing pain, stress and even calories), the role of humour in our spiritual development as we become increasingly self-aware and the ability to laugh in the dark – overcoming adversity and oppression. Phil is a great advocate for taking the role of joy and laughter in shared life together seriously.
It was such a joy to have two good friends from London last week leading our course. Andrew and Tricia were inspirational, thought provoking, and there was obviously a lot of laughter. One of the aspects that has encouraged us since Scargill has been resurrected is people have commented that it’s not always the talks or the worship that bring about some change in their lives, but the love and laughter they find at Scargill during their stay. Our community promises conclude with the phrase that we will try to laugh together often. Laughter is healing, it gets in touch with the heart of hospitality, and when we bring a sense of humour into a conflict situation the likelihood is that it can be sorted. If we take joy and laughter seriously it may help us to not to take ourselves too seriously. Perhaps the Church needs to take this medicine at least three times a day!