Tag Archives: Tamira Good

Holy Humor

by Pastor Tami Good, Swamp Congregation

Associate Pastor Tami Good (Swamp Congregation) records entertaining videos for children (and adults) to connect with her congregation during this time of social distancing. All of her videos are available here.

The Sunday after Easter my sister-in-law sent me a video entitled, “Holy Humor Sunday.” It was a church service filled with funny hymns, jokes, bright clothing, and a thoughtful reflection on the need for laughter today.

My first reaction was, “This is amazing!” However, it also brought me pause. Is this kind of thing really allowed in church? Church is supposed to be a solemn place, right? I was a bit skeptical. So I researched it.

In the early Church, the Sunday after Easter was a day of laughter and joy. Parties were thrown and practical jokes were played. Bright clothing was worn, and everyone joined in on the fun. The custom of “Bright Sunday,” as it was called, was an idea formed by early church theologians who believed that God played a joke on the devil by raising Christ from the dead. The resurrection was God’s ultimate surprise on Death. Over time, this practice was pushed aside and forgotten … until recently.

The importance of joyfulness and gladness has always been part of our tradition. Psalm 100:1-2 (NRSV) says, Make a joyful noise to the Lord…worship the Lord with gladness; come into his presence with singing. As God’s beloved children we are encouraged to live out the joy and thanksgiving God’s presence brings.

However, God does not only exist to bring us joy.  Does God experience joy and laughter too? Imagine God during Creation, breathing over the waters. Couldn’t a breath be one big burst of joyous laughter?

Jesus was no different. Think about Jesus’ companions: weathered fisherman, party girls, and outcasts, who sorely needed a dose of hope, joy, and laughter. This is one of the reasons the religious people of Jesus’ day hated him so much. He was a friend to “a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners” (Luke 7:34, NRSV). Maybe it was Jesus’ laughter with these people that was so scandalous to the religious leaders.

Remember when Jesus breathes on his disciples (John 20:19-23)? Just as God breathed creation into being, Jesus breathed in a new creation as well. Only this new creation was the power of the Holy Spirit. I can hardly believe this breath of God’s Chosen One was a gentle, fluttering breeze. Instead I picture it as a gregarious eruption of laughter! What pure elation the disciples must have felt as they celebrated the complete defeat of death!

We are currently living in chaotic and stressful times. It is hard to live within the unknown.  I wonder, however, if we might be able to find ways to imitate Jesus’ sense of humor through all of this? I’m sure there were smirks and giggles when Jesus told some of his outlandish parables or crazy ideas: A camel going through the eye of a needle? Feeding 5,000 with a few loaves of bread and fish?

Laughter puts things back into perspective and reminds us to see the good in those around us. It takes the focus off what we cannot control and lets us see our situation in a new light. If Jesus appeared on earth to deliver God’s punchline, how might God long to surprise you in the coming days?

As we continue in this time of being apart, I encourage you to ask God to help you see the humor all around you. Wear bright clothing, sing a silly song, and tell the cheesiest “Dad jokes” you know. How might God long to bring some “Holy Humor” into your life today?

Carrying Grandmother’s Purse

by Anne M. Yoder

On March 18, 2017, I had the privilege of meeting with a large group from area Mennonite churches at the 6th annual Eastern District and Franconia Conferences’ Women’s Gathering. Every year at this event I think about who will attend, what joys they will have experienced in the last year and what difficulties they may have encountered. I pray for us all that we may meet the Lord in and through each other when we gather. And each year I am again greatly heartened by being among so many sisters in Christ.

Once again the hard work of the planning committee and especially our miracle-working God made a way where there seemed to be no way, and we were able to enjoy a sacred day of fellowship, worship, and learning. We had the biggest group ever, with 80 registrants from 15 different churches. The largest contingent of over 20 women came from Centro de Alabanza de Fildelfia.

The theme for the gathering was “Carrying Grandmother’s Purse”, a metaphor for the views and messages we often carry from our families and culture that may or may not help us to be the women God created us to be (see the meditation here for more on the metaphor). Our speaker was Pastor Tami Good from Swamp Mennonite Church, who led us in looking at several Biblical women who needed to hear new messages about themselves in order to live abundantly. First they had to shed some of the messages they had heard in the past about themselves, setting aside “Grandmother’s Purse,” as it were before they could accept the messages Christ had for them.

We were asked to reflect on three questions throughout the day: Who do they (culture, family, etc.) say that I am? Who do I say that I am? Who does God say that I am? Pastor Tami told about her own journey of letting go of some of Grandmother’s purse as she stepped into God’s calling on her life to be a pastor.

Probably the most moving for all of us was hearing stories from those who shared candidly about their struggles and their hopes for the future, and time spent praying in groups of two or more for each other. In the morning we had blue paper purses that we named as our grandmothers’, and in them we placed slips of paper on which we had written things we had heard about ourselves through our lives that we wanted to release. Part of our prayer time was taking those purses up front to a basket where they joined all the others to be discarded. In exchange for these “old” purses, we were given change purses on a keychain in which we had placed positive messages to remember in the future including scripture verses reminding us of God’s messages to us.

We were blessed by songs of worship led by women from Centro de Alabanza de Fildelfia, expert translation between Spanish and English by several women, wonderful snacks donated by a dozen registrants, a delicious luncheon prepared by Marta Castillo, and by the faith witness of those who attended.

As one participant wrote, when asked what they found most meaningful about the Gathering: “Connecting with sisters of a different culture and learning from their examples – I noticed how many shared, and how they usually began with ‘God is good’ even as they described hardship in their lives.” Similarly, another wrote in answer to the same question: “Joining of all cultures, all sisters, seeing tears, prayer, and sincerity.”

All in all, it was a delightful and very meaningful day. We look forward to gathering together again next year.

Much gratitude goes to all who helped make the day possible, including Pastor Mike Clemmer for his generosity in helping to set up and clean up Towamencin Mennonite Church before and after our use of the facility, and the members of the Eastern District and Franconia Conference Sistering Committee who helped plan this year’s event: Pastor Letty Castro (Centro de Alabanza de Fildelfia), Doris Diener, Pastor Tami Good (Swamp Mennonite Church), Pastor Marta Castillo (Nueva Vida Norristown New Life), and Anne Yoder.