Main Content

It is the test of a good religion if you can joke about it.

— G.K. Chesterton (1874-1936), English writer and journalist

Laughter is perhaps one of the most mystical expressions of a human being.

— Laibl Wolf, rabbi and educational psychologist

People open themselves up to laughter so they become open-hearted. And in becoming open-hearted sometimes the tears come too.

— Jenny Thompson Richards, clown doctor

A merry heart does good like a medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones.

— Hebrew scripture, Proverbs 17:22

Sandpaper symbolizes humor, a tool which smoothes the rough edges of life. This session provides opportunities to reflect on how humor and laughter in a life of Unitarian Universalist faith can help us survive and enjoy the life we are given.

Discussion in this session may touch on humor that is cruel, or humor that opens us up to healing laughter. Allow time for participants to engage with the issue of jokes that are based on stereotypes. Emphasize that humor can heal when we laugh with others, and can harm when we laugh at others. In addition, emphasize that humor can be an affirmation of life in the face of life's sadness. Humor can be a source of inner spiritual strength that helps us survive.

Although it is not a tool for this session you may like to use a Slinky to introduce some light humor within the group.


This session will:

  • Help deepen participants' Unitarian Universalist identity, ethical discernment, and understanding of Unitarian Universalist faith through reflection and discussion
  • Teach that Unitarian Universalism is a faith that will help you be affirmed in life and connected to all beings through laughter
  • Engage participants in the spiritual practices of chalice lighting, voicing of joys and concerns, and intentional discussion
  • Unitarian Universalism values respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part (seventh Principle)
  • Unitarian Universalism affirms the direct experience of that transcending mystery and wonder, affirmed in all cultures, which moves us to a renewal of the spirit and an openness to the forces which create and uphold life (first Source).

Learning Objectives

Participants will:

  • Experience the qualities of sandpaper as it smoothes the rough edges of wood
  • Connect sandpaper, a tool for smoothing the rough edges of wood, with humor, a quality of our Unitarian Universalist faith which can smooth the rough edges of life
  • Hear a story that uses humor to teach
  • Enjoy their own humor and experience the joy of sharing humor together through play, parody songs, and making their own clownish designs with face paint
  • Reflect on humor as a religious tool of our faith

Share, Print, or Explore

For more information contact