This is the seventh installment of a series of blog posts outlining principles of inner-reformation taken from the life of St. Francis and Martin Luther. This series was prepared as a series of talks for the Order of Lutheran Franciscans 2017 Retreat.
Inner Reformation Principle 6: Have Fun
The sixth and final principle of inner spiritual reformation is to always make room for fun.
If any two figures in Christian history knew the importance of lightheartedness and fun, it was Francis and Luther. Prior to his enlightenment, Francis was known for throwing lavish parties and having a good time with friends out on the town. Even after dedicating his life to the simple way of Jesus, he continued to embrace a lighthearted, carefree attitude as he engaged in life, eating, drinking, and enjoying the company of friends. Luther also came to this realization, and often was seen enjoying a pint or three at the local pub in his hometown of Wittenberg.
Both men realized that the greatest threat to spiritual growth and flourishing was to take oneself too seriously. After all, we’re talking about two men who dedicated to following in the path of the renegade rabbi from Nazareth who himself had a reputation for partying and having a good time. In this way, childish lightheartedness is important. It helps us to keep in perspective the reality that we are finite and that while we have much power and are cared for eternally by our Creator, we are none the less incapable of directing our own paths. We are invited to follow in the way of the untamable and wild Spirit, and hold everything loosely, allowing the mighty currents of Spirit to take us wherever they may lead.
The Indian Spiritual Teacher Osho writes:
“God is always joking! Look at your own life – it is a joke. Look at other people’s lives and you will find jokes and jokes and jokes. Seriousness is illness. Seriousness has nothing spiritual about it. Spirituality is laughter. Spirituality is joy. Spirituality is fun.”
Isn’t it interesting that the idea of living a spiritually disciplined life is often conceived of as an austeir, serious reality, when those who are most enlightened, most awakened, are often the most light hearted? Have you ever watched a video of the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu together? They are constantly laughing, joking, and tickling each other. Jesus too told jokes and was known as a trickster. Luther drank and laughed regularly. And Francis never did cease to be the life of the party.
To be deeply spiritual, united to God, is to be one who can lean back fully into the flow of life and let the river take you wherever it desires, with your only task being to enjoy the ride. This is the beauty of true spirituality- it happens to us, for us, and through us. We don’t have to do anything to make it happen. Only enjoy it.
This is the beauty and power of grace.
So make time this week for fun. Laugh a little. Tell stories. Let lose. Balance your silence with laughter, your seriousness with smiles. For when we live happier lives, we live healthier and more spiritually balanced lives.