Thursday, April 1, 2010

April Fools Day

Today is April Fool’s Day. There have been times when I sought to pull off a practical joke or two on this day. The best April Fool’s joke pulled on me was when I was in Jacksonville. As you probably know I love chocolate – anything chocolate. This sweet dear lady brought me a large box of chocolates. Interspersed among the legitimate pieces of chocolates were a few chocolate covered pieces of Styrofoam … but she was such a sweet dear lady. What I hadn’t noticed during this event was the church staff collected in the corner of the Fellowship Hall to see the preacher become the “catchee” instead of the “catcher”.

April Fool’s Day does not have any religious overtones except for those words which appear in 1 Corinthians 4:10 – “We are fools for Christ's sake, but you are wise in Christ. We are weak, but you are strong. You are held in honor, but we in disrepute.”

There is the belief dating back to the 18th century that this festival, and it was observed as a festival of sorts throughout Europe at one point, was in recognition of the act of Noah when he sent out the dove for the first time only to have the dove return because the waters hadn’t receded … thus a “foolish” thing to do or “only a fool” would have sent forth the dove in expectation of finding dry land when all that could be seen surround the ark was water.

There is a big difference between being a fool and being foolish. Jim Fiebig explains the connection this way: “You are not a fool just because you have done something foolish--only if the folly of it escapes you.” To be the April Fool is to be the butt of a joke or prank, to be the “catchee,” and there are those who say the whole of the Christ event is just a practical joke or prank played on the human race by the gods of the universe or, even worse, by those who actually believed that this wandering preacher from Nazareth was who he claimed to be ... that his “followers” just don’t understand the folly of it all – it simply escapes them.

One of my most favorite devotional books is My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers. I think he had this idea in mind when he wrote: “The marvel of the Redemptive Reality of God is that the worst and the vilest can never get to the bottom of His love.” We are “fools for Christ” when the world laughs at us instead of with us … they simply do not get the wonderful and glorious good news of Christ. The Resurrection is God having the last laugh in the face of a world that thinks they can get rid of a loving and caring God on a cross – thus the phrase, “He who laughs last, laughs best.” God always has the last word … or the last laugh!

May we each go forth to be the biggest fool for Christ that we can be!

Quote for today: “If a man wants to make a fool of himself he will always find plenty of help.” Source unknown

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