God has a wonderful sense of humor. The Bible tells us that he sits in the heavens and laughs (Psalm 2:4). What makes him laugh? What are the elements of  his sense of humor? What does God laugh about, which we, as made in his image, should laugh about too?

According to William J. Bausch [in 'Storytelling: Imagination and faith"]

In Greek Orthodox tradition, the day after Easter was devoted to telling jokes, imitating the cosmic joke that God pulled on Satan in the resurrection. Satan thought he had won and was smug in his victory, smiling to himself, thinking he had the last laugh. Then God raised Jesus - and life and salvation became the last words."

The resurrection was the ultimate punch line. God in heaven roared with laughter, for the rulers who thought they had brought him down and broken free discovered that, in fact, God had installed his king on his holy hill, which is just the kind of thing, according to Psalm 2, that makes God laugh.

There are many elements in our sense of humor that are clearly seen in the Easter story.  For example, a joke is not a joke unless it has the element of surprise. You had been wondering where the story was going, but if you had been able to figure it out, it wouldn't have been funny. The disciples were totally taken off guard and must have laughed with joy when they saw the end of the story.

Think of the the innocent and universal way that children love to surprise. They cry with laughter when they hide in the closet and them jump out and startle you when you come into the room. Easter is the ultimate "Boo!" where the disciples jumped out of their skin as Jesus climbed back into his. But he took equally great delight in vanishing before the very eyes of the two disciples just at the moment they began to relax when they got home to Emmaus. Laughter shock-triggers an adrenalin rush; and those two disciples ran all the way back to Jerusalem because they had to tell their friends the joke, where just a few minutes earlier they had been exhausted from the long walk from Jerusalem. And they did it in the dark!

We love to see great reversals in our humor. The proverbial banana skin is especially funny when the one who slips up is as smug as Satan. Yes - we laugh at ourselves, as the fearless shepherds, who were perhaps telling fireside stories about their bravado were shocked speechless by the sudden appearance of an angel choir, must have laughed many times as they retold the story of that first Christmas night. But mostly we love to laugh at the downfall of those who have been so undeservingly high and mighty. Just as the Iraqi people celebrated, throwing shoes at the fallen statue of Saddam Hussein.

On Easter Saturday, Satan had been laughing his head off. By Sunday it was off. It took a while for the party to start because initially nobody got the joke.

To begin with, the news was unclear, like it was when the Duke of Wellington defeated Napoleon. In that war there were no embedded journalists with wi-fi and cell phones to get the result on the evening news. Reports could only be communicated by flags and lights. They began to tell the story. The message went out: "Wellington defeated..." and then the fog closed in and that was all that the waiting world heard.

Later the fog cleared and the full story became as clear as day: "Wellington defeated Napoleon at Waterloo!"

On Easter Sunday, the party could begin. Heaven roared with laughter. In the fog, it had seemed that the message was "Jesus defeated..." But Easter morning broke bright and clear, and in the light of the rising sun, the full message was seen: "Jesus defeated Satan at Calvary".God had the last laugh, and his people have been laughing ever since.

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