A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Church

Over Memorial Day Weekend, a couple of our relatives came to our home to enjoy a little R & R and frivolity. I must say, we were quite successful in doing both.

When Sunday morning rotated in, we kicked around the idea of attending a worship service. Before I retired from the pastorate, there was no choice. Back then, everyone simply piled into a vehicle and rolled to wherever I was preaching. Since that wasn’t the case anymore, we weren’t sure where we wanted to go. We weren’t locked into any particular worship venue and couldn’t make up our minds. Consequently, we ended up staying home.

I realize this isn’t the preeminent witness for a former pastor, but we made the best of it. We turned on the TV, tuned into YouTube, and watched two nonstop hours of Christian comedy. Some people view my sermons that way, so it wasn’t much of a departure from the norm for our guests. While I wouldn’t recommend this as a permanent replacement for worship, it certainly was a relaxing respite from the rigors of Memorial Day Weekend (you know, partying, parades, and the business of remembering our fallen heroes).

In case you’re unfamiliar with Christian comedy, there are really only two differences between that and secular comedy. Number one: You can assume the guy or gal telling the jokes is a Christian of one stripe or another. Number two: You can pretty much count on the fact that the jokes will be clean and devoid of vulgarity.

Overused Phrases

Currently, the funniest of all these Christian comedians (in my opinion) is Tim Hawkins. He’s been around for quite a while and never ceases to elicit some sidesplitting laughter from whoever is lending an ear. We watched one of his sketches on overused phrases, and I found it to not only be hilarious, but it was almost too true to be funny.

We love to exaggerate. We embellish our words, our phrases, and our circumstances. We always seem to make things sound worse (or better) than they really are. I’m not sure if that’s simply the human condition, or if it’s a byproduct of our culture. Either way, we’re certainly guilty of it.

Needier Than Thou

The fact of the matter is, however, we don’t have to inflate anything about ourselves. Jesus was quite clear that we already matter a great deal to God. He said, “The very hairs of your head are all numbered.” (Luke 12:7) In the same paragraph, he reminded us that the Lord takes care of the sparrows and that we are worth a lot more than those birds to Him. We know all this, and still, we feel the need to puff ourselves up or make ourselves look needier than we really are.

One of the phrases Tim Hawkins emphasized was, “that’s the worst.” Why do we always think that what has happened to us is the worst? Try dying on a cross sometime. Maybe we need to rethink our situations.

[Dave Zuchelli is a graduate of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and currently resides in Aldie, VA.]

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