‘The Christian should be an alleluia from head to foot’
Augustine of Hippo
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PLAY THROUGH THE BIBLE
The Bible suggests it might. The word sachaq which is often translated ‘laugh’ in the Hebrew, can also be translated as ‘play, sport, jest, sing, dance and play instrumental music’.
Sachaq is joy lived out.
The word is used in a number of familiar verses:
About the role of Wisdom in creation—‘playing with God’ …
Chaim Ben Torah Biblical Hebrew Studies have a great article on the use of sachaq (translated ‘laughter’) in relation to the birth of Isaac [Genesis 18: 14-18].
They break down the word sachaq as follows. ‘It is spelled (with the Hebrew letters) Sade, Chet, and Quf. The Sade shows humility and submission to God. The Chet shows a joining with God and the Quf represents a new beginning with God. ‘
They come to the conclusion that ‘sachaq’ is the joyful response to something wonderful coming from the heart of God.
Isaiah 35 says it all…
The desert and the parched land will be glad;
the wilderness will rejoice and blossom.
Like the crocus, it will burst into bloom;
it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy…
…Then will the eyes of the blind be opened
and the ears of the deaf unstopped.
Then will the lame leap like a deer
and the mute tongue shout for joy.
Water will gush forth in the wilderness
and streams in the desert.
The burning sand will become a pool,
the thirsty ground bubbling springs.
In the haunts where jackals once lay,
grass and reeds and papyrus will grow.
[Isaiah 35:1-2, 5-7]
There is a wonderful passage in The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe that comes after Aslan is restored to life:
“Oh, children,” said the Lion, “I feel my strength coming back to me. Oh, children, catch me if you can!” He stood for a second, his eyes very bright, his limbs quivering, lashing himself with his tail. Then he made a leap high over their heads and landed on the other side of the Table. Laughing, though she didn’t know why, Lucy scrambled over it to reach him. Aslan leaped again.
Resurrection life equals unsurpassed joy. Resurrection life equals the freedom to live the life you were destined for. Resurrection life flows from inside-out.
Christians have frequently squashed this resurrection life down, feeling a sombre life of self-sacrifice is what is required; and have often been shoe-horned into programmes and practices which demonstrate ‘devotion’ but steal their joy.
And yet joy is one of the manifestations of the Kingdom. We of all people should be the most ‘alive’, brimming over with exuberance and celebration.
Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
But Jesus called the children to Him and said, ‘Let the little children come to Me, and do not hinder them,
for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.
Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.’
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