Welcome to the Society of Saint John the Evangelist

Revelation 2: Relationship

Question:

How could you be playful in showing love to others today?
Write your Answer – click here

Transcript of Video:

I love the gospel of John because of the loving, playful image it gives us of Jesus. He’s serious and there are very serious things that occur in the gospel. But there’s this playfulness and this hunger to relate that is just wonderful. We all have those desires to have deep relationships with people and Jesus shows that sure it’s possible that it could happen. And in touching those people, He makes it happen in them. They have those relationships with other people as well as with Jesus. I mean, He opens something and helps them to live out rather than being focused on themselves.

If they don’t get it, He still loves them. You know, through all of that, He still loves them. That undying love that He has helps us to have that same kind of persistent undying love for other people. And if we don’t hear that message, our lives are so … so narrow. So … we lack the kind of richness that that love for other people can give our own life.

– Br. Eldridge Pendleton

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112 Comments

  1. Meg on March 23, 2014 at 01:23

    Playfulness is part of who we are and work together in our praise band, so that will be an easy venue later today, in which to show playfulness in my relationships with the other musicians. Showing playfulness while working on income tax with my husband later in the day will take greater creativity, listening and awareness. I look forward to the challenge.

  2. Jenny Hall on March 18, 2014 at 18:58

    To not take myself or others so seriously! To be open and accepting of all the people that I interact with this
    week.

  3. Marci on March 17, 2014 at 14:39

    Just smile with them at the most mundane things of life….like waiting in line with them at the grocery store.

  4. Nick on March 15, 2014 at 19:58

    I think I, as many others I’ve read, got hung up on the description of “playfullness”. I actually had to read and re-read the Gospel of John several times, and I think that what I see, is definitely a tone of love, acceptance, and candor. I don’t know that I would use the word “playful” but I can see where “loving” and “protective” could be used. I especially attach to when Jesus tells the disciples, “I will not leave you orphans”, very comforting words indeed.

  5. Beth on March 15, 2014 at 13:34

    I love the drawing of Jesus laughing. We to can express our joy with laughter, dancing, and in welcoming others.

  6. the Rev. Judith Jones on March 15, 2014 at 11:31

    Again (see Day Five) I KNOW this beyond anything else in my life. Remembering it on a moment-to-moment basis is, however, not where I live. It is my desire to keep this knowledge always in my awareness, for when it is, I am a better person to those around me – more loving, more joyful, more giving. This meditation itself is a reminder that the desire to keep God’s amazing love for all of creation in the forefront of my consciousness will make my life and the world a better place. May it be so.

  7. the Rev. Judith Jones on March 15, 2014 at 11:30

    Playfulness is so easy at times, and difficult at others. Today, I will choose to be playful: with my spouse and my friends, as well as those I encounter. How? Well, smiling comes easily to me, and that is a way to impact anyone whose path I cross. Greetings to passersby can perk up their day. Perhaps it is simply an attitude change: deciding to be playful makes me so. I think that works! We’ll see.

  8. jane goldring on March 15, 2014 at 11:12

    i think you are right brother eldridge. we can show our love by helping our friends and showing that we are there for them in time of need. we do not know when we are going to need that help. be ourselfs and act accordingly. When you come from a large family and know that there is always help for us, you can pass it on.

  9. Susan Dowds on March 15, 2014 at 09:00

    I will say things that make people laugh. It’s the gift of spontaneous comedy that puts things in perspective. I love to see people break into laughter.

  10. James Walley on March 13, 2014 at 18:14

    RESPONSE TO TUESDAY’S MESSAGE:

    I think I’m going to re-read John’s gospel, because…”playfulness?” In all the times I’ve read John, that quality would never be one I’d attach to his portrayal of Jesus.

  11. Lois Gagnon on March 13, 2014 at 15:06

    My life is so full each day with shared loving moments, joyful moments, playful moments with dear friends both old and new, and even friends “to be”. These words are an awakening, not just for this period of Lent, but for each day forward…………..

  12. Jessica on March 13, 2014 at 13:27

    Loving people playfully is part of my life, it’s part of how I connect with the people around me and make it safe for others to be in relationship with me. Opening one’s self to any kind of relationship is risky, even if it’s just a two minute chat in the grocery store line, and I feel it’s important to make those moments safe. And if I am totally honest I have to point out there is nothing for me to loose in doing this and everything to gain 🙂

  13. Anne Shelton on March 13, 2014 at 08:13

    laughing with those in my life, smiling at those who may not smile back, making sure my work is done so that I can be relaxed and joyful when my teenagers are home. .

  14. Dick on March 12, 2014 at 12:19

    I see myself as “playful” by nature. I love to tell a joke, read or see something really funny and exchanging gentle barbs with family & friends; yet I have seldom thought of the exchange of Christlike love as playful. But than maybe it should be. I love contemporary worship and even though I remain in awe at the beauty of a high liturgical mass, I always feel closer to Him when worship is spontaneous and joyful and free. I think my prayer life could use some of the same.

  15. Deacon Susan in California on March 12, 2014 at 12:19

    I’ll try to laugh more deeply, with a more relaxed face, when my son is telling his jokes and stories. He is very funny and God knows how he can be that way, since he has a terrible disease and much in his life is far from playful. I’ll try not to stare at him so earnestly as if he were a sufferer or a puzzle to solve.

  16. John Okerman on March 12, 2014 at 12:00

    I really like the message of loving others. I think you should accept others at “face” value. Sometimes individuals may take advantage of you (the negative) but most of the time people really appreciate your acceptance. Each person is a “gift” and a child of God and we should keep that in mind when we are around other people. Not sure about the “playfulness”.

  17. anonymous on March 12, 2014 at 11:19

    playful. hmmm. that would require lightening up, less armor, acceptance, a degree of vulnerability. playful is possible when one feels safe. how do you get past not feeling safe?

  18. Diane Sherwood on March 12, 2014 at 08:09

    Hardly a day passes when I’m not playfully showing love to those around me. I’m always looking for opportunities to share Christ’s joy with others.

  19. susanhudgins on March 12, 2014 at 08:03

    Joking more and listening more. Embracing what the news maybe today.

  20. Dorothy Brown on March 12, 2014 at 05:29

    Playfulness is something I need to develop. I too tend to take myself too seriously. I can joke and laugh, yet still remain behind my wall of fear. I have a friend who, when upset, asks “God, are you as upset about this as I am?” As others have said, I need to open myself to receive God’s joy and peace daily. I hope to learn how to do this through getting out of myself and not taking myself so seriously.

  21. Winifred on March 12, 2014 at 04:04

    I will try to find more laughter and joy with those I love, to be more child-like in my affection, whether it is inviting them to dance, cartwheel or join me in a swim in the surf – something like that. I look forward to the test!

  22. Janet on March 11, 2014 at 21:56

    I’m not sure that I see Jesus as playful
    I will ponder that as I go through the Gospel of John

  23. Lorna Harris on March 11, 2014 at 21:46

    Smiling and listening to other people … appreciating their ideas …. Br. Eldridge sort of encapsulates what I mean. He obviously got a kick out of talking to all of us.

  24. LindaR on March 11, 2014 at 20:09

    I can try to be lovingly playful by trying to take things as seriously as they deserve to be taken, but not so overly seriously as I often do. By trying to keep a gentle sense of humor, starting with be able to laugh at myself so others will know it’s okay to laugh too. By trying to help others smile and feel valued no matter where they are in their own struggles and challenges. My brother recently shared a prayer he was using while waiting to learn the outcome of a process over which he had no control: “Dear Lord, help me to be as concerned about this situation as you are, and if you aren’t worried, please help me to share in your peace.” I can imagine Jesus hearing that prayer with a smile.

  25. Jean Ann on March 11, 2014 at 19:47

    As a former church school teacher, I am thinking of the children’s curriculum “Godly Play”. The children are invited to hear the great stories, especially the parables. The stories are presented as special gifts, in golden boxes, which hold manipulatives evocative of the story. It’s touching to watch the children go back to their favorites, week after week, pulling the box off the shelf and settling on the floor to tell the story to themselves, play with it, maybe imagine additional characters or different endings. Through their play, they enter into the gospel stories and make them their own stories.

  26. Tammy on March 11, 2014 at 19:27

    I’ve never thought of God as playful and yet the psalmist talks about God making “leviathan for sport”….Ill have to re-read John’s Gospel with playfulness in mind. In the meantime at the risk of sounding like Ive read one too many feel good dog books….our golden retriever Noah often allows for the inbreaking of the holy/joy into what otherwise might have been a crappy day…He goes by his street name Two Balls Brown when we play outside because he can cram two tennis balls in his mouth and has been known to manage three when afforded the opportunity…watching him race after the balls and come running back with absolute abandon never fails to make me smile and I laugh when he uses his paws as hockey sticks to get those balls into the goal of his mouth….There is heaven in the heart of this animal for sure….just as our birds know the sounds of our cars in the driveway and start whistling as soon as the car door opens….

  27. John McWilliams on March 11, 2014 at 19:22

    Wish I’d read this earlier in the day …missed opportunities abounded.
    Humour and a sense of play are wonderful because they are disarming, egoless and form wonderful bonds – there is sometimes a certain wry humour in my relation with God.

  28. Rob Schoeck on March 11, 2014 at 19:13

    I think that for me, what this calls to mind is to not take myself so seriously, to allow that playfulness to come out. I do have a playful side and it comes out in certain situations, but can I let that out more often? Can I let go of the serious in order to let the fun in? I think that I do a pretty good job at carefully balancing the two but perhaps I could do better at showing and sharing it with others.

  29. jane goldring on March 11, 2014 at 18:16

    thankyou for your thoughts and words eldridge and reminding us our lord is always with us where ever we are. i think treat people the way you would like to be treated it is a two way street. i always remember my grandmother saying it doesn’t hurt you to give a hello to anyone. it also helps when you are friendly with people and you receive the respect back. it is nice to have a friend to listen to your troubles and you reciprocate.

  30. Maureen Doyle on March 11, 2014 at 18:06

    That’s an interesting question: playful relationship times.
    I wonder if I enjoy being with children is that we can play. We can dance, sing, rhyme, read, and bond in other ways.
    Children usually get my jokes. Adults think I’m serious or crazy.
    Joking around is often how I reach my insides. It’s safer than storming the stubborn gates. I have made friendships with laughter. Playful to me can mean outsidethebox communications.
    God has a great sense of humor. I say something and God drops something in my lap or plays a song. We sometimes laugh together.

  31. David Holt on March 11, 2014 at 17:17

    Jesus as playful: I,ve at times imagined in a quiet time of prayer that Jesus is on the other end of a playground see.saw.
    Bultmann thought laughter , and being able to laugh as existentially vital. It was a long time ago that I read him. Unfortunately serious illness can make us serious people . Does playing harmless games on Facebook qualify as play?

  32. Gwedhen Nicholas on March 11, 2014 at 17:16

    I don’t know what it is to be playful, so I don’t understand how Jesus is. What does it mean to be playful? I wish to understand as I know I take myself far to seriously. For that reason I am serious with others.

  33. Margaret Dungan on March 11, 2014 at 16:56

    I have always counted on God’s sense of humour .How else could he put up with us?
    To day i went to see a lawyer the only thing I knew about him was that he was a christian. All the serious work got done but in the context of our christian background it was also playful and fun.

    I think Saint John and Br Curtis got it right.

    Margaret.

  34. Susie on March 11, 2014 at 16:23

    I am not very playful by nature and I don’t see the playfulness in John’s gospel! But as I read and study I will keep my heart open to this! My husband is very silly and this is one of the things I love about him. He loves that I always laugh at his goofy jokes.

  35. Heidi Edson on March 11, 2014 at 16:14

    I imagine that putting up with us humans and our antics, God would most certainly need a sense of humor. Life would be so dull and hard if there was no play involved. Thank God for fun and laughter to break the hardness of sorrow–

  36. Mary on March 11, 2014 at 16:05

    Visiting with my 88-year-old mother this week. She gets so frustrated with the difficulties of aging. This will really help me lighten things for us! I’m really trying to help her be aware of the kindness of others (rather than how horrible the world is), the beauty of creation (amid the black snow piles) and the gifts of life. A little humor goes a long way when you can’t get out of the bathroom with your wheelchair!

  37. KEW on March 11, 2014 at 15:58

    Playful love today = daffodils! (Okay, I had to buy them, because they will never grow in the sub-tropics where I live now.) Today, they remind me of that crazy joyful exuberant life that sustains bulbs through the winter and pushes tender shoots out through the remnants of snowbanks.

  38. Ross Bliss on March 11, 2014 at 15:31

    To access playfulness, I’d first need to slow down, and put all my busyness into perspective. It’s just stuff I have to do, and will get done, but I forget it’s not as essential to living as just being present with and for others.
    I can also remember the fundamental human idiosyncracy I have in common with every single person I encounter, and take more delight in how uniquely that might be expressed in them.
    What a delight!

  39. Nadine on March 11, 2014 at 15:12

    I think humor is a gift you can give to others. If you cannot be funny with others, I think that this often shows that you cannot open yourself enough to them. So, today in particular, I will try to be as silly or humorous as I can in my interactions.

  40. Bobbie on March 11, 2014 at 14:23

    By being mindful, letting the fey out.

  41. Casey on March 11, 2014 at 13:59

    Just love Brother Eldridge…I just want to hug him!

    I am playful by nature…quick with a comment that makes another smile, ready to goof around with kids and kid -likes, able yo use humor/question to de- escalate. These help folks feel comfortable and relax. Here comes the however….however, this easy going nature allows me to keep the focus on others. It means I can disclose less, risk less. I am more aware of this as I mature and able to use play less as a screen and more as a relationship hook.

    Could use a little help…some specific John references that other fols see as playful.

  42. Barbara Harris on March 11, 2014 at 13:08

    I work with children and care for two grandchildren so playful love is helping with homework, reading a book, taking a bath, having a treat in the middle of the day. Playful love is an extra smile and an unexpected well done.

  43. Sandra on March 11, 2014 at 13:08

    Focus on the goodness of others in daily exchanges. Recognize a quality that that stands out for me and be courageous, speak a compliment, echoing the playful language patterns Jesus used to raise the spirits of the folks he encountered. His dialogue is playful now that the word describes his interactions. His parables kept the people interested and held them captive to his message. Be in the moment during daily interactions. “What would Jesus do?” Live well~Love~much~Laugh often; it is clear Jesus does give his messages to his disciples in a playful language/manner. It’s refreshing to hear Jesus described as “playful.” But, it has me remembering that Jesus was human like me.

  44. Christina on March 11, 2014 at 12:44

    For Anders who often writes comments to morning homilies:
    Have a wonderful day, full of joy, laughter, and love.
    Christina

  45. Win on March 11, 2014 at 12:17

    What a wonderful discipline this love/life has become! Thank you SSJE for giving us this fantastic gift this Lent. And thank you all for your thoughts and ideas, especially today! They certainly have provided much inspiration!
    Big blessings to everyone!

  46. Dan on March 11, 2014 at 12:09

    Watching this series over the last few days, I’m struck by how genuinely happy the Brothers seem; like they somehow how found real peace. I guess not being married or enslaved by corporate life helps. Maybe vows of celibacy, poverty, and service to others reap rewards in the here and now, and not just the afterlife. Bravo Brothers, I think you get it, and thanks for the series.

    • Jamie on March 11, 2014 at 12:56

      I have known the Brothers in person for eight years. Their home, the Monastery, is filled with laughter, humor and joy. I think that they have struggled until now with how to communicate that online and so I was thrilled by your comment.

  47. Kathleen Sheehy on March 11, 2014 at 11:22

    I completely buy that Brother Eldridge has discovered the playfulness in God’s love for and through him – just look at that twinkle in his eyes! I frequently make myself laugh and know that God is sharing the joke with me. As for playfulness today in showing love – I don’t think I’ll plan it. I’ll just see what happens! Serendipity and playfulness go well together.

  48. MRM on March 11, 2014 at 11:21

    oh my, this is a question I most need help answering. I do not know how to express my love very well, and find my efforts to do so, even at playfulness, are too often misunderstood. As a consequence, I hold back and remain closed.

    So I need help with this. The responses here are a good start, and will try to use a lunch today with a colleague I do not know well as an opportunity to be attentive and maybe just a little playful, if an opportunity presents itself.

  49. Kirsten on March 11, 2014 at 11:00

    today I play “where’s the blessing?” – with my kids (oh look, there’s the cardinal in the tree outside our window – hello cardinal!), with my students (tell me a story about what makes you awesome!) and my friends – (just sent a poem to several really awesome friends). These prayerful acts make my own heart sing. 🙂

  50. Stacey Grossman on March 11, 2014 at 10:54

    There is something about holding things lightly that this message brings me this morning. I slept through my alarm and was late this morning to my rowing practice. I had to drive my launch around the San Francisco Bay in the dark to find the rowers I was supposed to be accompanying. I started to be grumpy, but ended up reflecting on God’s joy in discovering us whereever we happen to be. Late, disheveled and waking up in God’s sunrise. Great reflection. Brother!

  51. Melinda on March 11, 2014 at 10:47

    A couple of years ago I was in a group meditation session. As I was contemplating the concept of ‘peace’ a scene virtually exploded into my mind. Jesus and I were standing/bobbing/paddling around in a beautiful, clear pool. Suddenly, and completed unexpectedly from my point of view, He reached over, put His hand on my head, and as He laughed out loud, dunked me under the water… playfully! I was so astounded I immediately came out of the meditation and sat straight up in my chair. It swiftly came to my understanding that through this medium Jesus was telling me to lighten up and not take everything so seriously! If, as is my understanding, Jesus as man on this earth experienced the same feelings we experience then I suppose it stands to reason that He does have a playful side.

    • Win on March 11, 2014 at 12:10

      You were Baptized! 😉

      • Melinda on March 11, 2014 at 13:37

        Win – Good one!
        Maybe my first Baptism was too serious 🙂

  52. Jennie M Anderson on March 11, 2014 at 10:43

    For me, it is mostly fear that brings such seriousness into our lives and fear has an important part and… well, letting go of fear helps find the playfulness that can come with joy. I hope to find glimpses of playfulness not only today but in the days to come! Thanks Brother Eldridge.

  53. Cush on March 11, 2014 at 10:23

    Listening to this brought to mind a group (same nucleus but not necessarily the same individuals) that goes out for brunch after church, coffee hour and adult education on Sundays and the laughter and joy that is contagious to those seated around us and the wait staff. Had not thought of it as playful before but it certainly is and enriches my worship experience.

  54. Hannah Anderson on March 11, 2014 at 10:16

    Engaging this playfulness today will, for me, involve tapping into my curiosity about people, events, places that I will encounter throughout the day. When I can remain open and curious, a playful energy emerges. Thank you for the reminder of how to move through this one day with mindfulness.
    Hannah

  55. Arlene Kas[ol on March 11, 2014 at 10:06

    I am retired — OK – SEMI-retired and busier than ever. I now teach square dancing. When I’m really good at this second career it is not so much because I know the calls and can get others to understand and execute them. I am good at this when I see this as my vocation – a vocation that encourages others to take an hour or two for recreation despite over scheduled lives. I succeed when, through music movement and humor I help people forget their stresses and commitments and use the experience to re-create themselves.

    Humor is one thing that contributes to this re-creation. May God work through me to reach out to the dancers I encounter this week so that they may leave refreshed and rejuvenated to once again embrace life’s tasks with a renewed spirit.

  56. Kathy on March 11, 2014 at 09:58

    It could be many of us have forgotten how to be playful. Tapping into our latent playfulness will surely make us more “like the little children” as Jesus told us we should be. Today, we have a fun assignment: How can we make someone know that we care about them AND get them to smile at the same time?

  57. Susan on March 11, 2014 at 09:55

    Today I can smile at everyone I meet, laugh at their jokes, and encourage them to be who they want to be today. Gentle playfulness.

  58. Jane Anne Gleason on March 11, 2014 at 09:53

    How can I be playful in God’s love today? By laughing at/with my husbands and son’s jokes, by being open to seeing the playfulnes of the squirels I see outside my window. To have joy in the songs of the birds returning north after their wintering south. I also need to remember and to be thankful for the healing that laughter has played in my recovery from my AVM and resulting stroke….lauging at myself and with my family as I still have sometimes have difficulting saying the word that are in my mind making my statements silly and down right funny!

  59. Bill on March 11, 2014 at 09:52

    To be more playful I draw inspiration from an improv course I am taking. There are 3 basic rules to Improv:(1) keep listening until your partner is finished speaking before you decide what you are going to say (2) always take care of your partner and (3) refrain from judging your partner and your own contributions. With these simple rules it is always surprising how much fun we have, and how quickly we build up trust amongst each other and ourselves. Taking these rules a step further into the Gospels means to me: listening, loving and acceptance.

    • Win on March 11, 2014 at 12:03

      Thank you! My mantra for today – listening loving accepting! To remember that every day! Thank you!

    • Eva on March 12, 2014 at 07:40

      Those 3 Improv rules would be so useful in the church – or in any of our relationships. I’ll try to remember them for myself. Thank you.

  60. Marilyn Weir on March 11, 2014 at 09:47

    Thank you, Brother Eldridge, for your beautiful words today so full of Love! I have tears.
    I love to be playful and it is fun to say or do something that makes people smile. I promised myself when I was a child that I would not forget how to play when I grew up. It was too important.
    Even just a loving smile when you talk to someone, making loving eye contact for a moment, can make a difference. People are so starved for love and play and they don’t even know it.
    So let’s smile, laugh and be more playful! Amen!

  61. Jeanine on March 11, 2014 at 09:43

    Open a door for someone who doesn’t expect it – and smile. Be playful and warm with the students in my class (most of whom will not have their assignment done!), acknowledging what is going on with them rather than being cranky about my own hijacked lesson plan. Enjoy the concert my husband wants to go to tonight, even though it’s not “my kind of music” and I’d usually worry about staying out late. Open up, open up, open up. Let my heart be open with God’s spirit.

  62. Cindy P. on March 11, 2014 at 09:38

    For me at least this brightened my day. The idea of Our Savior and Brother as playful is a comfort. I believe the only difference between those who love and follow Jesus is the joy in our lives. This at times comes out in playfulness. But how reassuring to see that it is okay othrs feel this playfulness in His Love and Joy. I really believe giving Thanks in all things just adds to the joy. We all have obsticles God never said it would be easy. But so worth living a life of love and joy

  63. Bob O. on March 11, 2014 at 09:35

    Playfulness is a wonderful part of our Christian life. Having a sense of humor and enjoying that gift as we share it with others, is a wonderful evangelistic tool. It shows that we, too, are real and able to enjoy the life God has given to each of us.

  64. claudia yapp on March 11, 2014 at 09:32

    Thank you for this! Yes, finally, it is good to hear an “official” person talking about Jesus’ good sense of humor and good nature. He loves to make up nicknames for the guys (disciples), he engages in lively repartee with the women disciples and the women who seek his help, his wit is visible in his quick responses to the traps the pharisees would set for him, he engages deeply with each person attached to a hand held out for healing. I see him laughing and smiling a lot. How else would he draw the immense crowds hungering for love, as well as food and health. Thank you for this lecture.

  65. Christopher Barnhart on March 11, 2014 at 09:31

    By putting others needs first rather than my needs first.

  66. Will Wauters TSSF on March 11, 2014 at 09:21

    I sometimes like to wear my red clown nose to church just to invite play amongst whomever I encounter. Silly me !

    • Win on March 11, 2014 at 11:55

      You made me laugh just reading this!

      • Win on March 11, 2014 at 11:57

        I had a friend who used to wear a blinking red bowtie in choir every Christmas! I miss him.

  67. Tim on March 11, 2014 at 08:54

    It’s nice to think of Jesus as playful. That is the way that I see Him on a regular basis. Just because someone is playful, doesn’t mean that they are not serious or sincere about their actions. People seem afraid, at times, to see Him as someone who could roll on the grass laughing or cross His eyes, wincing in pain, from stubbing His toes or walking into something. He is greater than us – and I love that and He is/was one of us and I love that too.

  68. David Andrews on March 11, 2014 at 08:43

    It is hard for me to be playful especially when I react a good bit of the time to people’s un playfulness in light of God’s Love. Today I will try to be playful.

  69. Pam on March 11, 2014 at 08:43

    My husband is sliding deeper into dementia. One way we can still connect is through laughter.

    • kew on March 11, 2014 at 12:27

      Oh, Pam, that sounds so hard….but connecting through laughter is lovely — however bittersweet it may also be. Holding you and your husband in prayer right now.

  70. Julie Watt Faqir on March 11, 2014 at 08:35

    This is a tough one…being that I am not working right now and the interaction I will have with others today will be in the context of the job search. I don’t want to seem too playful because I do need to be taken seriously. But perhaps just by smiling at strangers?

  71. Deborah on March 11, 2014 at 08:34

    Make someone smile through kind words or being helpful.

  72. TM on March 11, 2014 at 08:11

    Oh! I think this is one of my strengths! Finally! I have a laidback (but not lax) style of teaching, and my special needs teens know I love them in a teacherly way. We can kid through some issues, talk seriously through others, but always know there is a relationship there. At home, all we do is kid around some days! We are a tight group of 3 (a magic number!) with my husband, son, and me, and we express our love with playfulness often.

  73. Page on March 11, 2014 at 08:01

    I am very playful person at heart, so I most of the time I show my love playfully. I have a childlike faith of love and trust in people around me and spreads through them through me.
    One of my purpose on this earth is to show God’s love is good, and everyone receives it no matter what. We are all good at heart and deserve to be love as who we are.

  74. kew on March 11, 2014 at 08:00

    I, too, had no idea what to think about the idea of playfulness in John. So I did a quick search and in the process found a sermon that had some interesting resonance for me. The page doesn’t indicate the preacher, the church, the denomination, and I didn’t have time to track back the URL, but I thought others might be interested to read it.

    http://collegeavepres.org/pdf/sermons/2013/GodsPlayfulWisdom5-26-13.pdf

    • Eva on March 11, 2014 at 09:57

      Thank you, kew, for the link to this sermon – very thought provoking.

    • Gwendolyn on March 12, 2014 at 10:50

      This sermon made me think about Godly Play used in church school. It always looked like fun to me. Wouldn’t it be fun to see a congregation playing with figures during the Gospel reading and sermon?

  75. Mike Grigsby-Lane on March 11, 2014 at 08:00

    For starters, Jesus turned water into wine. He also hangs out a lot with children, and for all their flaws, children are always ready to be playful at the drop of a hat. At choir practice, we have great laughs (sometimes great theology too….and sometimes we have great music, laughs and theology….which is the very best of all worlds!).

    • Maureen Doyle on March 11, 2014 at 20:45

      One of my Sunday School students said Jesus seems to have been a hobo. Was a fun learning experience and a chance to make Jesus personal for each student.
      A fellow who tells us to pluck out eyes and cut off hands when they offend is either masochistic or humorous.
      Telling the judgment crew to cast the first stone at a poor woman caught in adultery teaches a heavy truth with a light touch. Can you imagine some of them going home and saying: you’ll never believe this.

  76. Br. Stephen Francis Arnold, OSB on March 11, 2014 at 08:00

    Allow yourself to be open to receive the love of others and be able to return it. Be alert to the sensitivities of others and act as God would – offer yourself to them to play with in gentleness and kindness.

  77. Michael on March 11, 2014 at 07:48

    Today is the last day of a late winter break visiting family in Georgia. I am going to soak up every minute of sun and warmth I can before we head back north. Playing in the sun is good for the soul.

  78. Robert Close on March 11, 2014 at 07:33

    I think these words from Thomas Merton speak to the
    playfulness.
    ‘What is serious to men is often very trivial in the sight of God. What in God might appear to us as “play” is perhaps what He Himself takes most seriously. At any rate the Lord plays and diverts Himself in the garden of His creation, and if we could let go of our own obsession with what we think is the meaning of it all, we might be able to hear His call and follow Him in His mysterious, cosmic dance.”

    • Vance on March 12, 2014 at 10:49

      I am a devoted fan of Merton and this quote is an excellent example of his insight. The concept of Jesus’ playfulness is a stretch for me. I even researched the word in the dictionary (frolicsome and full of play!) which helped little or none. However, letting go of our obsession with “the correct answer” and basking in the warmth and compassion of the accomplishments of Jesus is very manageable for me. Thank you for sharing this quote.

      • jane on March 14, 2014 at 10:44

        a wonderful quote and a common struggle but how do we move beyond that obsession?
        for me, today, i’m just going to leave it on the shelf and live the day that is before me…..and when that concern returns to haunt my peace, i’ll try and do the same thing.
        thanks a million for sharing this on this day!

  79. Christopher Epting on March 11, 2014 at 07:22

    Guess I don’t see much “playfulness” in John’s Jesus either…unless it’s in his dialogues with others. Even there, there is a certain edginess to his comments (“You’ve had five husbands.”). Nonetheless, staying in conversation — even with those who don’t seem to “get it” from our perspective — is the only way to build relationships. I will have opportunities to do that today.

  80. Brenda Griffing on March 11, 2014 at 07:17

    “Playfulness” is a welcome modification to the New American Bible’s emphasis on “Johannine irony.” Jesus is obscure when he wants to get people thinking; when he must push disciples who do not yet understand, he “speaks plainly.” Being playful with friends or strangers is a good way to promote relaxation and openness. Now that one thinks along these lines, it’s hardly surprising that the gentleness of Jesus often took the form of playfulness. Now to go back to John and look for other examples.

  81. larry j on March 11, 2014 at 06:56

    Being able to laugh at myself in the company of others. When I am not so serious about me but am open to others “playfullness” comes naturally.

    • Pam on March 12, 2014 at 08:27

      Yes, a willingness to laugh at myself. Not taking myself too seriously. I love laughter because it brings joy and it just feels good. Your answer is a good one.

  82. Damian Ryan on March 11, 2014 at 06:55

    Small gestures and compliments to those I interact with at work and on the train. Thanking people for all that they do..nothing grandiose, but little things that are often forgetten in such a fast paced environment.

  83. Elizabeth M. Chace on March 11, 2014 at 06:23

    Greet everyone I meet with, “Happy March 11th!” In a playful, loving tone of voice & with smiling eyes.

    • Elizabeth M. Chace on March 11, 2014 at 06:27

      And then truly listen to others, as Jesus did, to what may be on their hearts.

  84. Carl Riedy on March 11, 2014 at 06:23

    How to be playful … In showing love to others? Initially, my mind says: “Don’t take yourself too seriously … Be sure to add humor, a light-heartedness to your exchanges with others. But, does that display love? If the emphasis is on love, it is also on being fully engaged, fully present in every exchange, no matter how short, no matter where. One must attempt to capture eye contact, to listen, to respect the person and be thankful that they are in your lives … No matter how they respond.
    Dwell in God this day, through your neighbor.

    • Sr. Donna Morgan on March 11, 2014 at 16:56

      Very well said and thank you, my sentiments as well. Make them laugh and laugh with them, for all of life, sad and happy, is a cause to rejoice and be glad

  85. Jim on March 11, 2014 at 06:12

    These brothers have the most interesting questions, don’t they? I think one way to be playful in showing love is to surprise others with little gifts or gestures of appreciation. Laugh with them, joke about the absurdities of life, letting them know that we all find quirks in daily life.

  86. Michelle on March 11, 2014 at 06:04

    I am heading out not to show a mom how to find her precious baby (admitted to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) amongst the wires, tubes, beeping machines.

    We will put on pretend blinders (like a horse). Then we will focus our gaze away from machines and towards soft, pink skin. Probably, we will find toes or fingers first. Then we will reach out like brave explorers to finally touch the preccious land. At that point, it will be time to settle in and enjoy!

    Something like that

  87. john on March 11, 2014 at 05:50

    “Undying love for other people;to live out rather than to live in,for ourselves.” To be playful today,in love,I will stay focused on the other person with whom I am having an interaction. What is the need of that person,how can I help? LIVE OUT.

  88. Michael Kolenick on March 11, 2014 at 05:48

    A smile, hello, a casual joke, perhaps – and especially showing others that you care, even in little ways.

  89. Patricia Hartsock on March 11, 2014 at 05:46

    Loving others and not take my life so seriously as to tune out others. God loves me and I need to keep that in mind and love others with a joyful heart.

  90. Bob on March 11, 2014 at 04:11

    At last! One that isn’t almost impossible challenge!

    Working in an environment filled with children allows the joy of life to be seen in every department of the day. It also has the tears, and the changing patterns of childhood developing, but the love and playfulness is evident all around me stop

  91. David Hollingsworth on March 11, 2014 at 03:33

    Must be something I’m missing, ’cause I don’t see playfulness in this gospel( or any other for that matter ) Guess I’ll have to continue reading, meditating and praying.

    • Lisa on March 11, 2014 at 15:54

      In my earliest Bible, the picture of a kindly Jesus surrounded by children shows Him seated, one hand pointing to heaven, apparently giving a sermon. One child stands beside Him; other children sit decorously stiff at his feet. A comforting scene, but even at the age of five, I knew something was missing: no one was playing.

      For me, play is another call into relationship, which may include matching wits, as Jesus does in his conversation with the Samarian woman at the well. Or, it may involve intense concentration, as in a game of chess. It may be generosity of spirit, as John the Baptist saying, “He must increase and I must decrease”. Or, to jump from the sublime to the ridiculous, it might be the Laughing Game in which on a cue of “Ha” many otherwise perfectly sane people end up laughing themselves silly. And loving it.

      Play for children of all ages is fully spontaneous, lively, joy-filled, and engaged. It is one of the ways that we give and share our life with others. It is one of the ways through which we love ourselves and others unconditionally.

      Honoring the moment when in the story of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus, “Jesus wept”, couldn’t we also imagine a lovely moment when Jesus laughed?

  92. Mike on March 11, 2014 at 02:41

    Wow Br. Eldridge you really made me stop to think about a playful Jesus in John’s Gospel!! After some contemplation I pictured Him with the lady at the well. That surely could have been a playful exchange and you are right as it prompted her to bring others to meet him. She forgot about herself and her past and wished to share this love!!!!!

    • Bonnie on March 11, 2014 at 11:06

      Since I am Recuperating from surgical repair of fractured leg and ankle, I am dependent on others to help me with basic activities of living. I will take this opportunity to express my gratitude, playfully. Emptying a potty chair is a shitty job for a Saint!

      • Win on March 11, 2014 at 11:36

        Certainly good fertilizer for growth isn’t it!

        • Bonnie on March 11, 2014 at 18:11

          Love it !!!

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