Jesus: Laughing Sunlight on the Sparkling Water
By John Bonney of Springfield, OR, USA
Claim your unique and sacred place within the circle of those who call upon the name of Jesus Christ. Be faithful to the spirit of the Restoration, mindful that it is a spirit of adventure, openness, and searching. Walk proudly and with a quickened step. Be a joyful people. Laugh and play and sing, embodying the hope and freedom of the gospel. —Doctrine and Covenants 161:1b, emphasis added
As part of a spiritual exercise, the leader asked us to imagine a meeting with Jesus on a deserted beach…
I stood on the shore, as directed. I looked up and down the beach, and sure enough, it was bare but not barren. And yes, there were the footprints.
Of course, what could I do but follow? I followed and followed. After a time, I saw him. He was there, just as I expected. No surprise. And the sun was fine, and the breeze was pleasant, and life did seem good. Well, that’s fine. But, my good Jesus, what was next?
I went up to him. I said nothing. He said nothing. I just stood there and looked at him, and he looked at me. He grinned! This was a surprise! Those eyes looked at me, and he grinned. Then he chuckled, and I couldn’t help but chuckle, too. Then we laughed together.
Can you imagine? We just stood there and laughed—not at each other, but with each other. I laughed in relief. I laughed because I was in his presence; I was in the presence of unconditional acceptance and, yes, unconditional love.
I laughed because he laughed, and I laughed because he loved me, and I laughed because he was joy. He was laughter. He was the laughing sunlight on the sparkling water. It was astounding!
He laughed and I laughed; he took my hand and, still chuckling, and said, “Let’s go.”
So we did.
Prayer for Peace
Laughing God, what’s so funny? Did we, your belligerent children, complain about a minor discomfort when all around there is much to be joyful about? Did we raise our eyebrows at some injustice, and forget to raise our voice? Do you laugh at our needless fear of persons just because they are different—knowing all the while they are kind and gentle? Or do you laugh because you are happy, just watching your sparrows? Let’s try it, too!
Spiritual Practice: Nature Gazing
Visualize yourself meeting with Jesus on a deserted beach, a breezy mountaintop, a wildflower meadow, a desert at sunrise, or a snow-covered forest. When Jesus says, “Let’s go” or “Let’s do this,” where will you go? What will you do?
Today, God, I will grin as waves wash around my feet, or laugh all the way while dashing through the snow. I will be joyful in the presence of Jesus.