We're living through an incredibly stressful time with the global pandemic, economic woes, social and political unrest, and internet comments filled with conspiracy theorists, but that doesn't mean we can't keep our sense of humor. In fact, laughter might be the most healing tool we have at the moment.
Pandemic humor can be tricky, of course—there's nothing laughable about widespread illness and death—but it can be done. And it can even be done in a place not generally known for comedy, like a church sanctuary.
Father Nathan Monk, a former priest, shared photos from Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New Orleans on Facebook, which show how the church is creatively handling social distancing guidelines in the pews. The pews that should remain empty to keep people distanced have signs hung with blue painters tape.
The first quotes Jesus: "'I have prepared a place for you...'" then adds, "Just not this pew."
Next, referring to the loaves and fishes story in the Bible: "Jesus sat the 5000 down in rows...But not this one."
"Zacchaeus climbed a sycamore tree to get a better seat...this pew was not it." HA.
And they just get better.
"Abraham was 100 years old when Isaac was born. And if he were here today, he still wouldn't be allowed to sit in this pew." NOT EVEN ABRAHAM, PEOPLE. Find another seat.
Going way back to the Old Testament and Jewish Passover tradition in which people save a seat for Elijah at the Seder feast, one sign was a simple, "Reserved for Elijah only."
How about a fun game of spiritual hide and seek? "'You will find me when you seek me'.... Just not in this pew. Keep seeking."
What if you think of this pew as the forbidden fruit? No touchy. No sitty.
"Remember when the Lord put a 'Flaming Sword' at the entrance of the Garden of Eden, so Adam and Eve couldn't go there? 'Flaming sword' can also be translated blue tape."
And in case that isn't clear, "Jesus said take up my cross, not this pew."
Nailed it. This church managed to keep a light mood and inject some Bible-based humor into an otherwise serious situation, got people to follow public health recommendations, and didn't get preachy or judgey about it. "Fun" and "uplifting" are not generally words people use to describe public health mandates, but that's how people in the comments on Monk's post are describing these pew signs.
Well done, Redeemer Presbyterian. Helping us laugh so we don't cry.
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