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Holy Humor in the Midst of Fear

When I was enrolled at the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Philadelphia (Now United Lutheran Seminary), one of the requirements was to serve 15 hours a week at a field education site, most of which were ELCA congregations in the surrounding area. My 2nd year field ed site was Upper Dublin Lutheran Church (UDLC), where a year ago I was called and ordained as Minister of Word and Sacrament, as you may remember. After beginning I quickly found out that a tradition of the congregation was to celebrate “Holy Humor Sunday” the weekend after Easter. 

Pastor Dan as "Doubting Han Solo" in the Star Wars Cantina
Pastor Dan as "Doubting Han Solo"

The Gospel each year was the same: Doubting Thomas. The way we told the story changed year after year. Prior to me arriving Pastor Diane and Pastor Keith lead an ensemble cast through The Wizard of Oz, Batman & Robin, and The Blues Brothers. This year, I was told, was going to be STAR WARS. I was to play the role of “Doubting Thomas”, or in this case “Doubting Han Solo.” 

Looking back at the photos from Holy Humor Sunday 2016 I was terrified. I was about to go off to complete my one year internship in Ohio, the furthest west I had ever lived, and there was so much unknown ahead of me. Like the disciples I would have rather locked myself in a room and just stayed safe instead of facing so much change.

After internship I found myself serving at UDLC as a Senior Seminarian, which meant I got to again play Doubting Thomas on Holy Humor Sunday, this time as Doubting Ron Weasley. 

Again I  found myself at the brink of change as I prepared to graduate from Seminary, move to Cincinnati, get married, and begin interviewing for my first call. Both fear and change are inevitable. They are both part of life now just as much as they were for Thomas and the disciples preparing to take on the responsibilities of being the church without their dear friend Jesus. In this fear, in this change, as we lock ourselves inside, Jesus says “Peace be with you”. 

I think Thomas gets dealt a band hand every Easter 2 when we read the gospel story of “doubting Thomas”. When the rest of the disciples were locked in a room he was not there, but alone, facing his fear. And when he does come back to the locked room he is convinced to stay by what seems like peer pressure. As disciples of Jesus here and now, I would rather strive to be like Thomas than the rest of the disciples behind a locked door. Instead, Jesus gives us peace to open the locked door that only he can break through , and calls us out into the world to put our ego, our fear, and our desire to always be right aside in order to share the Good News! 

So if God is calling you out the door to dress up like Han Solo or Ron Weasley, go for it! If God is calling you out the door to finally sit down with a friend and talk about Jesus for the first time, go for it! If God is calling you out the door to see God’s hand at work in this changing world, what are you waiting for? Christ is risen! Now go, share the Good News.

Photo of church doors locked with a chain and padlock
Photo by Sheldon Kennedy on Unsplash


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