Thanks to the MN Conference UCC for sharing this Great Idea in their weekly COMMAnts newsletter. I share it here, verbatim:
The Federated Church of Morris celebrated Holy Humor Sunday on Sunday, April 24. For centuries in Eastern Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant countries, the week following Easter Sunday – including the Sunday after Easter, which was knowns as “Bright Sunday” – was observed by the faithful as “days of joy and laughter” with parties and picnics to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection. The custom was rooted in the musings of early church theologians – such as Augustine, Gregory of Nysa and John Chrysostom – that God played a practical joke on the devil by raising Jesus from the dead. The early church theologians called it “The Easter laugh”.
Federated churchgoers and pastors play practical jokes on one another, told jokes, drenched one another with water, dressed in brightly colored and silly clothes, and sang and danced. Noisemakers were used as part of the Call to Worship and during the hymns. Congregants were invited to tell jokes that brought both belly laughs and groans. Although a new experience for the congregation, people embraced it, says Federated’s pastor, Rev. Matt Orendorff, (pictured) adding, “After all, Jesus did say, ‘The laugh shall be first.'”