A sketch from the British television show “Monty Python’s Flying Circus” imagines what it would be like to fall dead from the funniest joke in the world.
Supposedly during World War II, Ernest Scribbler, a British “manufacturer of jokes” (Michael Palin), creates “the funniest joke in the world” and dies laughing.
According to Wikipedia, “The British Army test the joke on Salisbury Plain against a rifleman (Terry Jones), then translate it into German. Each translator only translates one word of the joke, so as not to be killed by reading the whole joke. One of them saw two words of the joke and had to spend a few weeks in hospital.
“The nonsensical German translation is used for the first time on 8 July 1944 in the Ardennes, causing German soldiers to fall down dead from laughter.”
British soldiers are shown running through artillery fire, yelling the joke at the Germans who begin to laugh hysterically.”Afterward, a German field hospital is shown with uncontrollably laughing German soldiers in blood-stained bandages, being attended to by medics with stoppered ears.” (Wikipedia)
According to the sketch, the joke was banned at the Geneva convention after the war.
I don’t know if you can really die of laughter or not, though some say it has caused heart failure. Much more common than this, though, is laughing when you’re not supposed to. Someone says something funny and you burst out laughing when suddenly you realize that it was no joke. You try to swallow your giggles.
This happened to God in the Bible. He said something and Abraham thought it was so funny that he fell down laughing. He must have thought, “That’s a good one Lord; where did you hear it. Suddenly the 99-year old man realized that it was no joke.
“God continued speaking to Abraham, ‘And Sarai your wife: Don’t call her Sarai any longer; call her Sarah. I’ll bless her—yes! I’ll give you a son by her! Oh, how I’ll bless her! Nations will come from her; kings of nations will come from her.’
“Abraham fell flat on his face. And then he laughed, thinking, “Can a hundred-year-old man father a son? And can Sarah, at ninety years, have a baby?” (Gen. 22:16, 17 MSG)
And God told him, ” Your wife, Sarah, will have a baby, a son. Name him Isaac (Laughter). I’ll establish my covenant with him and his descendants, a covenant that lasts forever.” (MSG)
Well, the joke that wasn’t a joke worked on Sarah because later when she heard it she also laughed. A ninety-year old woman having a baby! Now, that’s a good one! But, God got onto her for her unbelief, ” Is anything too hard for God?” he challenged.
And a year later she was laughing for joy, holding that laughing baby (Isaac) in her wrinkled arms.
Has God ever told you anything that made you laugh–laugh bitterly with disappointment or laugh heartily because it seems so impossible?
Maybe you better swallow that smile soldier! This is dead serious. God wants to use you. “Is anything too hard for God?”
Creativity is the residue of time wasted.