In the Creative Church Handbook: Releasing the Power of the Arts in Your Congregation there is a story about how creativity brought healing in an unusual way through a silly walk contest during one of my seminars. Here is the story, found in Chapter 2 “Ten Ways the Arts and Creativity Support the Church’s Mission”:
9. Bringing Healing and Illumination in Unique Ways
The ways that the arts and creativity communicate to our emotions and senses make them particularly effective for the Holy Spirit’s use in sort of “ambushing” us—getting past our defenses to heal and illuminate in surprising ways. One recent example of this came during a creativity workshop I led at a Midwestern church. A woman had decided to attend, even though she didn’t
consider herself “creative”, just to have fun and to be with her friends. At a break we did a creative exercise to loosen up and engage our bodies: a “silly walk” (inspired by Monty Python’s “Ministry of Silly Walks”) where people were encouraged, one at a time, to do their silliest walk across the sanctuary while everyone else cheered them on. This lovely woman is very outgoing and
a joyful, mature believer, but when her turn came she was overcome with dread. She forced herself to limp through the exercise then stood to the side asking God what was happening; why did she feel this way? He quickly began to speak to her about a subtle fear that had developed—a fear of what people thought of her. As she received prayer from other attendees, God brought
healing to places in her heart that had been broken for years. She prayed throughout the following week for a complete healing from this fear and by the next weekend she felt like a different person, free from that self-conscious weight. That following weekend she was to have a leadership role in a woman’s retreat, but didn’t realize until the day of that it would require speaking in front
of a group, something that would have caused her to freeze up before. Because of the healing that God had initiated through the “silly walk” she was able to speak confidently, and step into her calling as a leader, which in turn affected dozens of women at that conference.
We might be amazed at the healing we’d see in our churches if we ask God to give us out-of-the-box ways to illustrate the truths he wants to convey.
In this case the silly walk exercise really did turn into a ministry! It’s a wonderful example of how God can use humor and play to set us free.
My friend Phil Armor read the story, sent a thanks on Facebook for making him laugh, and attached a clip of the original Monty Python skit, which I hadn’t seen in years. This 1970 piece is still uniquely creative and John Cleese’s dexterity is astounding. I thought you might enjoy it. Scroll down for another thought after you watch it.
I really think humor has a special place in God’s kingdom, and I’ve personally experienced that he can be very funny. In fact, I think I’ll write another post on this later. But I’m curious, has God ever used humor and creative silliness to do a unique work in you?