See God: Hā, Ha, H̄̂ā (rev. 4/05/22) Second Sunday of Easter, PAAM Sunday, Holy Humor Sunday Acts 5:27-32, Psalm 118:14-29 or Psalm 150, Revelation 1:4-8, John 20:19-31 for use on April 24, 2022 Holy Hā, Batman!: PAAM Sunday Meets Holy Humor Sunday. A reflection by Rev. Mitchell Young Many American churches have been resurrecting an old Easter custom started by the early Greek Christians---"Bright Sunday" or "Holy Humor Sunday" celebrations on the Sunday after Easter. For centuries, many Christian faith traditions celebrated Jesus' resurrection in the week after Easter Sunday, as "days of joy and laughter". Can Holy Humor relate to the celebration of PAAM Sunday and Asian Pacific expressions of faith? Definitely! Think of the connection between breath and laughter. In today’s reading from John 20, the resurrected Jesus enters the locked room where the disciples are hiding and greets them: “Peace be with you” three times in this passage. In the Hawaiian Bible, Jesus says here: “Aloha ʻoukou” a traditional greeting to a group of people. Much has been said suggesting that the “ha” of “aloha” represents breath or even the breath of life. A Hawaiian dictionary should tell you that one of the primary definitions of “hā” is a verb meaning to breathe or exhale. (The other primary meaning relates to the number 4.) In fact, in verse 22, the Hawaiian Bible says of Jesus: “hā ihola ʻo ia iā lākou”, “he breathed on them” and they received “ka ʻUhane Hemolele”, “the Holy Spirit”. In Hawaiian language there is an intimate connection between breath and spirit, just as our Biblical languages of Hebrew and Greek also connect breath and spirit in the words ‫( רוח‬ruacḥ) and πνεῦμα (pneuma), respectively. In English, we also see the connection between breath and laughter. After all, you can’t laugh without breathing. Put almost any vowel behind an “h” to create onomatopoeia laugh words: we say “funny ha ha”; girls giggle “hee hee”, Santa bellows “Ho, ho, ho”; the sneaky villain snickers “Heh, heh heh”. Have you ever sung this children’s praise song? Ho ho ho hosanna! Ha ha hallelujah! He He He He saved me! I’ve got the joy of the Lord! All the “h” sounds remind us of joyous laughter. Moreover, in Thai or Lao text chat language, you can use the number 5 (five: ห้า, ຫ້າ respectively) pronounced “h̄̂ā” to represent laughter. Typing a bunch of 5’s is the Thai/Lao version of LOL (laugh out loud). Go ahead, try type a few 5’s separated by spaces in Google Translate and listen to the Thai pronunciation “h̄̂ā, h̄̂ā, h̄̂ā.” The John 20 story of the resurrected Jesus appearing to the disciples on the evening of resurrection day and subsequently to the disciple Thomas a week later, comes across like a hidden camera prank where the unsuspecting targets of the prank encounter the unbelievable. However, this incredible scene doesn’t end with “Smile, you’re on Candid Camera!” or even “I’m making a funny YouTube video.” When Jesus makes the big reveal to Thomas, they invite Thomas to see with his own eyes and touch with his own hands. We might even say that in Jesus’ resurrection, God has the last laugh over the power of death. 555! And on PAAM Sunday, we may also note that ancient church history also goes on to suggest that the disciple Thomas travels East to South Asia to establish the Mar-Thoma Church in India. Imagine that! From doubter to believer to church planter! Ha ha! Possible/Suggested Worship Elements Passing of the Peace A traditional Filipino gesture called pagmamano, or simply mano (literally, “hand” in Spanish) is performed as a sign of respect to elders and as a way of requesting blessing from the elder. Traditionally, the (younger) person approaches the elder and may ask “mano po” (literally, “Your hand, please.”) as the younger person bows toward the hand of the elder and gently presses their forehead on the elder's hand. It is typically done upon entry to the elder's home or upon seeing them. Young man greets his new mother-in-law with pagmamano. This greeting also goes by other names in other Philippine languages: it is called amin in Visayan and siklod in Kapampangan, for example. The tradition is also practiced in Indonesia and Malaysia called salim and salam respectively. In our Easter Gospel reading from John, the resurrected Jesus invites Thomas to touch his hands and side, soon after greeting him with “Peace be with you.” For the passing of the peace, on this PAAM Sunday, we invite you to honor your elders using a pagmam

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