The vexed topic of my use of humour in my ministry has arisen more than once in recent weeks. Despite my perma-frown, and precaffeine grumpiness, I do like to use humour as a means of communicating a message and while I take life and my faith very seriously, a light touch seems to work at times.

Whether it is right or wrong, appropriate or inappropriate, to use levity in one's spiritual life (or at parish level) is a matter that you can discuss at length over your morning coffee, but I do wonder if there is too little to smile about in life at the moment. Increasingly, the world feels like an irretrievable mess. Truth is lost; some world leaders use disingenuity as a legitimate rhetorical tool; our young are killing one another in our own city; people in gainful employment still cannot afford to live or eat; failing mental health eclipses the opportunities that life would otherwise offer so many – and all that, before we talk about war. Truth be told, life doesn’t feel like a laugh-a-minute at the moment.

That is until I visit our local schools and spend some time with your children. School assemblies are a regular part of my week and humour is a necessary ingredient – not because I am an entertainer, but because these youngsters give me hope and in the face of hope, I smile. In the light of the Resurrection, I smile. In my Sanctuary, I smile – and I want to make you smile. I pray that, just once in a while, I can do that small thing; then perhaps I will have made a tiny difference to your day.

Revd. David Cloake