When Jokes Go Wrong

It is with much sadness that I announce the Bishop called and…
Wait, no, I won’t do that to you. Some things just aren’t jokes, even on April Fool’s Day!

Are you an April Fool-er? One year, I drew with marker on my kids’ faces while they were sleeping. They were confused when they noticed. Another year, my early-riser son woke up my daughter by telling her to come open her Christmas presents. Beyond that, nothing I’ve done has been very memorable. I just can’t seem to pull pranks that way. Others do better. Today on Facebook I’ve seen someone who has been invited to speak at the Vatican (he hasn’t) and someone else who got a tattoo (she didn’t). And did you know, Pokemon Go was actually an April Fool’s joke that they decided was good enough to bring to fruition!

There are some jokes that are taken too far. In 1708, satirist Jonathan Swift published a death notice for another author, who then had to convince the world he wasn’t dead. In 1980, a television station produced a piece about a local hill that was spewing lava, leading terrified locals to flood the emergency lines with calls (the station was fined by the FCC). More recently, radio DJs have announced that local water supplies were found to have “high levels of dihydrogen monoxide.” The panic that ensued led to the DJs being fined, even though “dihydrogen monoxide” is the technical name for H20. You can read more of these jokes gone wrong here if you are truly interested. https://www.rd.com/list/april-fools-pranks-gone-wrong/

What is humor and when does joking go too far? We seem to be having that conversation quite a bit this week, aren’t we? What one person defines as humor, another person finds offensive. We see it play out over and over again in sitcoms and movies and real life. The conversations this week can be fruitful if we take the opportunity to learn from all the nuances of life together that we have to navigate.

Isn’t that really what’s at the heart of this outrage with the Oscars? Two people chose to do life together in ways that were harmful to each other and to those who watched. Had they chosen a different way to engage, our conversations this week would have been different and perhaps they would have learned from one another.

There are nuances of life together that we miss when we race through life. I pray that we might engage with one another in ways that lead to a deeper relationship rather than to pain. I pray that we might continue to laugh with one another and not at one another. I pray that we might continue to find joy and laughter in the things of this world that truly are hilarious. I pray that the laughter that we find leads us to a deeper joy in this life.

If you want to share in the laughter of our children, I invite you to help with the Children’s Easter Event on April 9. Come help lead a game for an hour or for three hours, and see the joy of play in the eyes of the kids. I’ll be there – join me!

In the meantime, I pray for laughter for this day!
See you soon,
Pastor Lynn


This week’s pastoral Lenten video can be found here.


(Masks are encouraged and are required for singing.)

Join us for worship:

  • 8:30 a.m. Traditional service with choirs in Sanctuary and child care in Rm 15
  • 10 a.m. Modern worship service with Praise Team in Fellowship Hall
  • 10 a.m. Traditional service with choirs in Sanctuary
  • 10 a.m. Youth and children’s Sunday School and child care
  • 10 a.m. Livestream premieres on YouTube and Website

To access our livestream service:

  • From the main menu on our website click “Worship.”  -OR-
  • Go to YouTube and search for UMC St. Mark’s Oro Valley or use this link.