Jesus Laughed September 5, 2009Posted by Phil Groom in Short Story, Theological Reflection.
Hungry. Tired. Blistered feet. I’d had enough. So I sidled up to Jesus in a lull and said, “Come on, boss. You need a break. Send ’em home.”
He nearly exploded. He looked at me sideways, one of those withering looks he usually reserved for the Pharisees and I thought, This is it. I’m finished. So long and thanks for all the —
“Fish,” he said, and winked. I heaved a sigh of relief. Then he said it again: “Fish. Give me a fish.”
I looked around, desperate. The rest of the guys were laughing, trying to hide it behind their hands, glad it wasn’t them. Then suddenly Jesus was laughing too, but he wasn’t hiding it: this was loud, buoyant, full of life. He spun around on his feet and raised his hands as his laughter echoed from the hills.
“Are you hungry?” he shouted. “Come to me! Are you thirsty? Come to me! Anyone who is tired, come to me! Come to me and I will give you rest! I will give you food!”
Everyone was looking now as he spun around again to look at me. “Fish?” he asked quietly, but everyone had gone so still that the breeze carried the word across the hilltop for all to hear.
That’s when the lad stepped up. I hadn’t noticed him, he was only eight or nine, a little lad. “Where are your parents, son?” I started to ask. But he shook his head and pushed a package into my hands. I took it. There wasn’t much else I could do with everyone’s eyes on me. I opened it: a couple of fish and a handful of small loaves. Jesus smiled as I turned back to him, but now it was the lad he was looking at. He winked again and the lad disappeared back into the crowd, a huge grin lighting up his face.
“Well?” said Jesus. I handed the package over as if it was on fire and suddenly everything went crazy: Jesus held the package up over his head, shouted a massive “Thank you!” to heaven and started tearing into it. He gave some to Peter. Then to Andrew. Then me. He laughed again. “Pass it on,” he said, still laughing, “Pass it on.”
So we did. And he kept going. And we kept going. And he kept laughing.
You can read an earlier version of the story in John’s Gospel…