A sense of humor overtaking solemnity

Faith & Inspiration

The wedding I wrote about yesterday did not proceed entirely without a hitch. There was a problem with the music, there were a few stumbles in the translation from Korean to English, and a bit of unintended humor in the sermon.

I have seen worse. In one case the caterer did not bring enough food. Another woman’s wedding gown split at the seams at the most solemn moment. And who knows how many dreams of sunny skies have been despoiled by impish rain clouds.

All of which should serve for our instruction: Let us keep a sense of humor about many of the things in life that we are tempted to endow with overmuch solemnity. And let us have wisdom to discern the difference. This way we will not set ourselves up for a fall. For instance, the marriage is important; the wedding is less so. Baptizing is important; remembering all the names of folks you baptized is less so.

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One of the chief dangers of Eros in our culture is not carnality (though that is certainly a problem) but a tendency to ascribe to sex an almost mystical solemnity. Much ink is spilled about sexual dissatisfaction in marriage and ways to fix it. But the Bible never once addresses this problem. The apostle Paul brings up the subject of marriage, not sexual satisfaction. Sex within marriage is indeed sacred as a picture of Christ and the Church. But the fact is that sexual moments can fare as unpredictably as wedding days.

C.S. Lewis wrote in The Four Loves:

“I believe we are all being encouraged to take Venus too seriously; at any rate, with a wrong kind of seriousness. All my life a ludicrous and portentous solemnization of sex has been going on. One author tells us that Venus should recur through the married life in ‘a solemn, sacramental rhythm.’… We have reached the stage at which nothing is more needed than a roar of old-fashioned laughter. … We must not attempt to find an absolute in the flesh. Banish play and laughter from the bed of love and you may let in a false goddess. …

“Venus herself will have a terrible revenge if we take her (occasional) seriousness at its face value. … She herself is a mocking, mischievous spirit, far more elf than deity, and makes game of us. When all external circumstances are fittest for her service she will leave one or both the lovers totally indisposed for it. When every overt act is impossible and even glances cannot be exchanged—in trains, in shops, and at interminable parties—she will assail them with all her force. An hour later, when time and place agree, she will have mysteriously withdrawn. …”

God bless the newlyweds, and give them a sense of humor.

Andrée Seu Peterson
Andrée Seu Peterson

Andrée is the author of three books: Won't Let You Go Unless You Bless Me, Normal Kingdom Business, and We Shall Have Spring Again.


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