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Laughing Day

To show that faith and laughter are not incompatible.

by The Revd Trevor Donnelly

Suitable for Key Stage 2

Aims

To show that faith and laughter are not incompatible.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need lots of jokes. If you want them to be religious, Google ‘religious humour’ – there are plenty out there. Or you could ask children to give you their favourite jokes in advance of the assembly. This has the advantage of ensuring that the humour is at the appropriate level and appeals to the age group.
  • You will also need some practical jokes, such as a flower on your lapel that squirts water, a water pistol disguised as a camera, or a can that shoots out a springy worm when opened (do be careful not to squirt into eyes!).
  • If you can’t find any of these then have some word jokes ready. For example: ‘Has anyone seen Mary Poppins? Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious! Can anyone spell it?’ Ask for volunteers and then only accept ‘IT’ – you asked them to spell ‘it’!
  • A children’s Bible if you want to read the story of Sarah and the birth of Isaac.

Assembly

  1. Start with a practical joke (get a volunteer to e.g. pose for a photo with your water pistol camera; smell the water pistol flower; open your booby-trapped can).

    Say that you will explain the reason for the joke in a minute. Meanwhile, ask if any of the children can tell you what special Sunday is this week / just passed? The answer is Mothering Sunday.

    Explain that it has an even older name than that: ‘Laetare Sunday’. Laetare comes from the Latin for the first word of the traditional prayer for the day: ‘Rejoice’. It is also known as ‘Refreshment Sunday’, and was a day when people who had given something up for the Christian fast of Lent (like sweet foods) were allowed to ‘break their fast’ and have a little of whatever they were missing. And in some places this Sunday is called ‘Bright Sunday’ or, in America, ‘Holy Humour Sunday’.

  2. Explain that it is ‘holy humour’ you want to talk about this morning. And you need another volunteer to have their picture taken / look at your flower / open this can – another practical joke!

    Explain that humour is found all through the Bible, from beginning to end. For example, tell how in the book of Genesis God tells Abraham and Sarah that they are going to have a child. Sarah is too old to have a child and when she hears what God has said she laughs. This laughter is so important that they call their child Isaac, as the name means ‘laughter’. Isaac is one of the great forefathers of the Jewish faith and Sarah, one of the great foremothers of the faith, is the one who laughed.
  3. Ask if anyone know any jokes? (Stress that they must be clean, if your audience consists of older children.) Listen to the jokes (and repeat them if the children talk too softly to be heard by everyone in the hall). You will need to have several of your own ‘up your sleeve’ in case there are few or none offered.
  4. Link the laughter of Laetare Sunday with the Mothering Sunday that we all have come to expect. Suggest that most mothers would go mad if they couldn’t sometimes laugh at life’s quirks and misunderstandings. The misunderstandings of families and children, if treated with a sense of humour, can make a family joyful.

    Find your own examples or use the following: A mother was explaining to her young children how they should behave during a church service. She asked them, ‘Why is it important to be quiet in church?’ Her bright little daughter said, ‘Because people are sleeping.’

    A mother had been teaching her three-year-old son the Lord's prayer. For several evenings at bedtime, he would repeat after his mother the lines from the prayer. Finally, he decided to go solo. His mother listened with pride as he carefully recited each word, until he got to: ‘Lead us not into temptation,’ he prayed, ‘but deliver us some e-mail.’

    Suggest that laughter is a key ingredient in our family lives. Ask what the children did/plan to do to make Mothering Sunday special for their mothers or carers? Then ask what they could do to make their mothers or carers laugh?

Time for reflection

Reflection

Close your eyes, and take a moment to reflect…

Think of the funniest joke you know…

(It’s okay to laugh if you want to.)

Now think of times when you’ve enjoyed laughing with other people.

Those are special times because laughing together is one of the best ways of being together.

How can you bring joy and laughter into other people’s lives?

Prayer

Loving God, we thank you for the gift of laughter.

May our laughter never be unkind.

But help us to laugh with joy, and bring joy to others.

And as we celebrate Mothering Sunday,

help us especially to bring joy to our mothers and the people who care for us.

Amen.

Song/music

‘Fill your hearts with joy’ (Come and Praise, 9)

Publication date: March 2006   (Vol.8 No.3)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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