The sermon is no joking matter

Dominus Vobiscum: Notes from a massgoer's underground

Lutheran pastor Burnell Eckardt mused about leading prayer at a church service and concluded that while doing so, he never has “the remotest thought of praying with levity or jocularity.”

Never is humor added as if to maintain the attention of people who might be silently praying along. Never in the prayers of the church, or for that matter, in personal prayers, is humor thought to be a helpful ingredient. . . .

This pastor thought it puzzling. “Whenever we speak to God we are dead serious. We are not trying . . . to be funny, or evoke laughter.”

(Let us hope so, though many the churchgoer who would not be surprised by ill-timed attempts at humor.)

“Why then?” he asks, “is there [the urge] to employ levity or evoke laughter when it is time for us to hear God, when there is preaching?”

In the sermon, “the…

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