EMAIL DEVOTIONAL week of Epiphany 5
Papa: Mack, you may not know this, but I am especially fond of you.
This brief dialogue is from the movie, The Shack. It is part of a conversation between the movie’s main character, Mack … and God … who Mack calls Papa because it is the way his wife lovingly refers to the God she loves and trusts deeply. Mack is struggling with a crisis in his past, and he has reached an impasse with God. The line is delivered with a playfully understated spirit, and you cannot help but smile. When I first saw The Shack in a movie theater, there was a collective giggle from the viewing audience when the line was delivered,.
It was an indicator of the strong presence that laughter would play throughout the movie. God was regularly seen laughing, as were Jesus and the Holy Spirit. And it was a contagious laughter. One built upon the joy found in life and in the ironies of life as a human child of God. It was not laughter enjoyed at the expense of others, but a laughter that found pleasure in simple gifts and simple emotions. Especially fond, indeed. Can we imagine a better blessing in this life?
Martin Luther was “especially fond” of laughter in his life. One of his quotes about the devil illustrates this truth:
“I often laugh at Satan, and there is nothing that makes him so angry as when I attack him to his face, and tell him that through God I am more than a match for him” — Martin Luther
If for this reason alone, The Shack is a pretty “Lutheran” movie, I think. Admittedly, its 2007 release in book form felt a little too “fundy” for my taste. But the producers of the movie version of this book have made it extremely accessible to all of us in the church. So rent the video and watch it with some Christians that you love. Laugh a lot … cry a lot … and celebrate a God who walks with us in every circumstance in life.