Spike Milligan and the Bible

The last published words of the late British comedian Spike Milligan of blessed memory were recently issued in The Times, and relate to the Bible, his religious upbringing, and specifically his confusion about Jesus. During a time when he was losing his faith, he writes, “I remember, during this period when my faith was fading, that I wished that somehow, somewhere, I’d come across something humorous - a comment or an incident – in my prayer book or Bible. One, just one, line like ‘And lo, Jesu laugheth heartily’, or ‘Jesus sayeth “Come unto me and I will tell you a joke.“ But no such luck.”

How sad that he was unable to see in the Bible the very humor he was sure must have been in the ministry of Jesus, for he goes on to say, “Why? Why? Why? I wonder. I suspect Christ peppered his teachings and parables with wit and repartee. He was a ‘whole’ man. And surely the message of religion is that we find happiness in it?”

A gospel of fun and joy could have ministered to this dear man, who struggled with manic depression all his life.