“We are fools for the sake of Christ…” 1 Corinthians 4:10
Since Easter falls near the beginning of April this year, it made me wonder about the origins of this unofficial holiday of fools. Turns out it has an interesting backstory.
April Fools Day was fixed on the First of April during the Middle Ages. This was the eighth day after New Year’s Day, which was observed on 25 March because it was near the spring equinox. Many cultures, including ancient Rome, India and Europe, had customs that included harmless pranks on friends and family members. The main idea is that foolishness reigns for the day. Nothing is as it seems. The rich are treated as poor, the poor hailed as wealthy, the foolish are wise, and the normal order of things is reversed.
That’s not a bad description of the transformation God wants for our world. God seeks liberation from all that holds people in chains. Where there is bondage to the unhealthy habits and addictions that hold us down, God desires a reversal of this “un-natural” order of things. Where there is violence, peace; enmity, reconciliation; injustice, justice. The end goal is a world transformed by God’s love where human beings can live as God originally intended them to live—as images of the living God.
As Christians, we believe God accomplished this great reversal in Jesus Christ. Because of the faith of Jesus, who remained obedient even through death on the Cross, our sins are pardoned because Christ became the ultimate sacrifice for us all. Because God raised Jesus from the dead, we too will live in God’s New Creation.
Some have called this way of thinking foolishness and have gone to great lengths to suppress the love of God. There’s a story from the time of the Soviet Union about an official who traveled from Moscow to Kiev to promote the state’s official ideology of atheism. For over an hour, the man held forth about the foolishness of believing in an unseen God and the wisdom of the Communist Party, which provided everything necessary for a happy life. When he finished, he surveyed the auditorium and demanded: “Are there any questions?” After a long silence, one man stood up, walked up to the podium, look out at the crowd and gave the traditional Orthodox Christian greeting: “Christ is risen!” The crowd stood as one and shouted out: “HE IS RISEN INDEED!”
God makes the foolish wise and wise foolish. Why not to do something foolish this Easter. Then be a fool for Christ. Believe in Jesus Christ and him crucified.
He is Risen!
He is Risen indeed!