It is no Laughing Matter

For in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith.  As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.  There is no longer Jew nor Greek, there is no longer slave nor free, there is no longer male nor female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.  Galatians 3: 26-28

I enjoy reading the religious magazine, The Christian Century.  I remember several years ago the cartoon characters from The Simpson’s were on its cover.  The caption under the Simpson’s read:  “TV’s most religious family?”

Were they?  Are they?   The truth is, the program The Simpson’s pulls no punches when it comes to making fun of religion…no matter the flavor.  Protestants, Hindus, Catholics all have been portrayed…sometimes highly critically.  The Simpson’s has proved to be more than a passing fad about a mouthy young man and his dysfunctional family.  Why?  I suspect it is because the characters in The Simpson’s often remind us of ourselves.

The Simpson’s addresses questions of a religious nature.  At least the Simpson family goes to church on a regular basis.  Did you know that The Simpson’s shares some sort of religious content in more than 70 percent of the shows?  Some of the shows are dedicated entirely to a religious theme.  Such as the show in which God agrees with Homer that his pastor’s sermons are boring.  I wonder how many of us have a conversation with God about that?  What does God say to Homer?  God says God will give Homer’s pastor a canker sore.  Ouch.  I might have a mouthful.

And God answers prayers in The Simpson’s.  When Bart pleads with God to close school the next day so that Bart does not flunk a test that Bart has not properly prepared for…well, school is miraculously closed because of a blizzard…in May.

I suspect many of us have watched an episode or two of The Simpson’s.  Have you ever wondered, as I have wondered, would Jesus watch The Simpson’s?  OK, I know there were no TV’s or movie theaters available in Jesus’ day.  But what about today?  Would Jesus laugh or cry?

Perhaps the question is not even relevant.  For Jesus was not a mere spectator of life…Jesus was, is, life.  And Jesus was the story teller.  Like the producers of The Simpson’s, Jesus understood the lives of the people in his community and reflected their lives in his parables.

Of course, Jesus’ parables are good lessons for us all.  Like the Apostle Paul, we know it is no question…and no laughing matter… that we are called to know and to enter into the lives of the folks around us…people who share our lives in community…people of diverse religious experiences…people who reflect who we are.   People with whom we can share celebrations and burdens.  People with whom we can laugh and cry.  People who are not cartoon characters, but who are our sisters and brothers in Christ.  People who we join with and in Christ.

And will now and for centuries to come.

Christ’s Peace,  Pastor Steve