January 24,2017/The Joy of Laughter

My husband and I prefer to ‘wander’ on vacations. Oh, we have taken guided trips to Europe and Alaska, but our fondest memories stem from the back road wanderings we have taken in this country and on our 25th wedding anniversary in England, Scotland, and Wales.

One of our favorite spots is hidden away in upper North Carolina. Here in the small town of West Jefferson, we stop at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church.

Why?

Because it is here where we can meditate on two of our favorite works of art. The first, is a famous fresco created by Ben Long entitled ‘The Mystery of Faith’. The fresco art form is one that is far more famous in Italy and Europe than here in the USA. When Ben first decided to bring this art form to this country he had difficulty finding a church that would be willing to allow him to create. He finally stumbled upon two VERY small parish churches in the North Carolina Hills. (The other church Holy Trinity church is located in Glendale Springs should anyone want to visit both these extraordinary sites.)

The ‘Mystery of Faith’ examines the Crucifixion and Ascension of Jesus Christ. Staring at this work one can pick up various images and, in my experience, each of us sees something different.

The second amazing encounter comes when one studies the painting of ‘The Laughing Christ’ painted by Bo Bartlett. Why Christians so often picture Christ as stern, sober, and in agony, I haven’t quite figured out. Christ laughed. How many times do we have reports of him at weddings, dinners, meeting friends, and generally spending time with people? As a comedian once said, “God has to have a sense of humor…otherwise why would he have given us feet?”

Sometimes in the difficulty of life, we forget to laugh. Proverbs 17:22 says: A merry heart doeth good lie a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.

Older people have a line of medicine lining their shelves. Some of it is necessary to our very existence. If only we could bottle JOY and LAUGHTER so our spirit doesn’t turn to dust.

DON’T LET YOUR JOY TURN TO DUST AND BLOW AWAY TODAY! Find something to laugh about. And if you are every traveling near the hills of North Carolina, stop in and witness the power and joy that Ben Long and Bo Bartlett incorporated into their work…then thank God they could bring joy and laughter to our lives!

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