It’s been three years since Westminster’s Worship Research Department, which as many of you suspect, is actually just me and a couple of old books, three years since the research department was reminded of the ancient Orthodox Christian tradition of the “Easter Joke.” On the day after Easter, Orthodox congregations would reassemble at their churches to tell jokes and funny stories — as a way of celebrating the BIG joke that God played on Satan on Easter morning.
Since we don’t gather on Mondays, yet still wanting to honor at least one ancient ecclesiastical tradition, I began modestly by including one Easter joke in my 2014 Easter sermon. This proved so popular that in 2015 I told two jokes and, then, in 2016, three. After worship last Easter, several of you suggested that I should just stop after the jokes, which I thought was pretty funny, but then I realized you weren’t joking.
Nevertheless, in continuing deference to the Orthodox Christian tradition, and at the risk of whatever remains of my respectability, I’ve decided to begin again with the Easter Joke, or two or three…
* I read this week about an all-church revival which was held in a small, rural Kentucky town, outside of Louisville. In the middle of the week-long revival, the town’s three ministers got together for a cup of coffee and to compare notes.
The Southern Baptist minister was effusive. “The Lord has blessed us mightily,” he said. “We had ten conversions last night.”
The Methodist minister, with equal enthusiasm said, “the Lord has blessed us, too. We received five new members.”
The Presbyterian minister, much more reserved, said, “God has been good to us, too. We lost fifteen of the worst members our church ever had.”
* The minister was preoccupied with thoughts of how he was going to ask the congregation to come up with more money than they were expecting for repairs to the church building. The minister became more anxious when he learned that the regular organist had called in sick and a sub was brought in at the last minute. The substitute wanted to know what to play and when to play.
So, the minister hurriedly gave the organist a copy of the bulletin, and said as they were entering the Sanctuary: “You’ll have to think of something to play after I’ve made my emergency appeal for additional funds.”
During the service, the minister took a deep breath and made his appeal, “Brothers and sisters, we are in great difficulty; the roof repairs cost twice as much as we expected and we need $15,000 more. Any of you who can pledge $500 or more, I invite you to stand up.”…… It was at that moment, that the substitute organist played “The Star Spangled Banner.”……And that is how the substitute organist became the regular organist!
* A Sunday school teacher decided to have a church etiquette reminder with her class just before she dismissed them to go to worship. She asked: “Why is it necessary for kids to be quiet in church?”