Living Room Liturgy: A Liturgy of Laughter

Living Room Liturgy: A Liturgy of Laughter

I wrote a couple weeks ago about how social distancing may create an opportunity to practice solitude. What I’ve since realized is that for many of us it is not necessarily clear how to make the most of our solitude. Prayer is hard on your own. Without the weekly encouragement and example of praying together in communal worship, our own individual prayer lives can feel dull or diminished. So, I thought I’d try to offer some “Living Room Liturgies” that you, your family, or you with some folks on a Zoom call can use to give prayer a bit of structure. I hope you’ll share them if you find them useful! (Download the PDF here for a printer-friendly copy.)

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Crying and its Theological Significance

In her book Gilead, Marilynne Robinson’s character John writes these words. “It is an amazing thing to watch people laugh, the way it sort of takes them over. Sometimes they really do struggle with it. I see that in church often enough. So I wonder what it is and where it comes from, and I wonder what it expends out of your system, so that you have to do it till you’re done, like crying in a way, I suppose, except laughter is much more easily spent.” She is correct at all points. Laughter does take over the body; laughter does expel something; crying and laughter are similar. The last point is probably the most obvious: laughter is more easily spent than crying. We could draw this point out in a slightly different direction. Laughter is more easily spent and it is also much easier to participate in — it is “an amazing thing to watch” and, as the old cliche goes, laughter is contagious. Crying, on the other hand, is difficult to watch and not something in which people will gladly join. Robinson’s observation, about both laughing and crying, illuminates the reality that these actions have a deep significance to them. Neither crying nor laughing are merely responsive, as if we only cry because something sad happened. Something more seems to be happening when we laugh and when we cry.  Continue reading