If you are old enough, did you ever watch The Johnny Carson Show on late night television? When I was much younger, during summer months, I would often stay up late to watch Johnny and his sidekick, Ed McMahon.
One thing I especially loved was Johnny’s character, “Carnac The Magnificent.” On his head, he wore an overly-large, jewel-encrusted, feathered turban. The bit was that Carnac would be handed individual envelopes by McMahon.
Then, Carnac, with 100 percent accuracy, would be able to give the answer to the question written on a card inside of the envelope. He would then tear off a corner, blow into it, take out the card, and read the question written on it.
The live audience would then give their response in the form of laughter, groaning or almost complete silence.
Here’s one: “SIS – BOOM – BAH”: Describe the sound when a sheep explodes.”
The audience loved it. Carson found the joke so funny that it took quite a while for him to collect himself.
Here’s one that is also quite memorable: “Bible Belt. What holds up Oral Robert’s pants?”
When that joke was given, I had no idea who Oral Roberts was, or what the Bible Belt was referencing. I did catch on that the joke was religious in nature, but that was it. It was only years later that I understood.
I’ve wondered how much of our lives can be like a joke that we don’t fully understand until years later? Can we look back and laugh at the silly mistakes we may have made?
I believe that God is the audience to all of this, and God may laugh. I also believe that God does not laugh at us, but with us. There is a big difference between the two.
So, when you make a mistake that makes you laugh, know that you are not alone.
Walter is pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church and has served as parish pastor for 30 years.