Riding in the passenger seat while my husband drove, I stared out the window. As we passed a pond, I noticed five or six sets of tail feathers sticking straight up out of the water. The ducks were busy eating whatever delicious goodies they had found under the water, butts pointed skyward, with no idea how undignified they looked to passing humans.
Although I'd seen it before, the sight struck me as funny, and I pointed it out to my family. My kids laughed with me, my husband chuckled, and we enjoyed a short moment of delight at the expense of those oblivious ducks. I thought of the ducks' creator, and wondered for a brief moment whether I should take a more subdued attitude toward God's creation.
Then I realized he might think it was funny too.
When we think of the ways God reveals himself through creation, we usually think somberly of majestic mountains and roaring seas, the reliability of the seasons and the provision of crops. We think of the detail in the tiniest flower, the mysteries of gestation and birth. When we think of an appropriate response to creation, we think of standing on mountain peaks, overlooking the ocean, lifting our arms in wonder. Or maybe sitting around a campfire in the woods or in the shade of an old tree in the park, singing songs of praise. We don't think much about laughter.
But much of what God has made is inherently funny, ridiculous, and infused with sheer delight. Consider the humor in a penguin's waddle. The adorable fluff of a baby chick, a bear scratching its back on a tree, monkeys who pick bugs out of each other's hair. Puppies that spend hours playing, fall asleep wherever they land, then wake and start playing again. The unbelievable combination of traits in the platypus, which European scientists actually believed was an elaborate hoax when they first encountered it in 1798.
It's no accident that the creatures in this world appear and behave as they do, just as we ourselves are not accidents. When my dog tears around the yard at full gallop with a ball in her mouth, daring us to try to catch her, she is celebrating the way God made her. When we laugh and share in her delight, we are celebrating as well.
Perhaps an arresting sense of awe is not the only appropriate way to express our appreciation of what God has made. Our laughter and "aww" can be forms of worship too. Simply noticing and attributing God's works to him is an act of worship. And I believe he is honored in our delight.