'Does anyone have fun in the Bible?'
Someone recently posed this question to me: "Does anyone have fun in the Bible? Really?" And, like you, of course, my answer was, "Well, no. Of course not."
Bear with me, because then I started thinking, "Why?" First I started thinking that a lot of the stuff that we consider to be fun isn’t exactly world-changing, and maybe that’s why it didn’t make the cut.
For example, I love playing video games or going to movie trivia night at my local bar with a group of friends, but when I step back and take a good look at it, that stuff is exactly that -- trivial. And the Bible is full of world-changing, non-trivial stuff.
These people had big, divinely ordained things to get done, right? They didn’t have time for a quick game of tetherball.
And then I thought, "Well, maybe they did have fun sometimes, but someone left it out of the story."
They were real people, right?
I mean, I’m almost certain that the people whose life stories are told within the Bible are real humans who had full lives and experienced moments where they stayed up too late and couldn’t stop laughing, or heard someone tell a really good ghost story, or who played tickle-monster with their kids, but somewhere along the line, those things got edited out, for the sake of (relative) brevity, if for no other reason. Thank goodness.
The Bible is the story of faith for millions of people all over the world, but it’s also a highlight reel. It’s the headline version. Isn’t it? The parts we remember, and maybe need to remember, are the deep, eternal, philosophical, non-trivial moments, and so all the other parts are left out.
Then my brain really started working overtime.
What is fun?
Maybe the problem is I’ve reduced my understanding of "fun" stuff to activities that require a touch-screen, or a ticket, or money. Maybe when I look at the tiny details of the stories of faith found in Scripture, I don’t see fun because I only see stuff that wouldn’t be fun for me, today, in suburban America.
There’s fun in there. Eating a meal with your friends is fun. Singing is fun. It’s fun hearing someone tell a challenging story. And, as much as I hate to admit it, taking a walk? Potentially fun. Maybe.
Once again, through Scripture, instead of giving a simple answer, God is raising up in us a better question about the depth of the Spirit. It’s a question that lives of faith and stories of God’s people have been asking for thousands of years. And I think it might be this: How can it be that this God fills our lives with such an overflowing sense of joy? And how can we live with an amplified appreciation of that deep, embedded, virally contagious joy, even in the most mundane moments?
Justin Rimbo lives in Arden Hills, Minn., with his wife, Angie, and their two children. On Sundays you can find Justin leading music for worship at Jacob’s Well in Minneapolis and Humble Walk Lutheran Church in St. Paul, Minn. Both are ELCA congregations.