Fools for Christ (2018)

By Rick Summy, Senior Pastor (2018)

This year, Easter Sunday is on April Fools Day.

Who says God doesn’t get the last laugh?

I suppose it’s not surprising that some would want to cash in on the coincidence. I just previewed a video about an invitation to Easter worship. It goes something like this: a guy asks his friend to go to Easter worship with him. His friends says sure he’ll go; what day is Easter? And the inviter says April Fools. But I thought you wanted me to go with you to Easter services? I do. When is it? April Fools. It goes back and forth in a predictable but mildly funny way, in the spirit of Abbott and Costello’s “Who’s on First?” skit (for those of you old enough to remember that). Whatever your style, I encourage you to invite people to join you at SOTV on April 1. Just make sure they know the invitation is real!

Although Easter seldom falls on April 1, there are several old traditions in the church that encourage such foolishness, based on the notion that God played the ultimate joke on Satan by raising Jesus from the dead. According to the blog, re:Worship, on the Sunday after Easter in 15th century Bavaria, priests would pepper their homilies with amusing stories and jokes. The congregation would get in on it afterward by playing practical jokes and telling their own funny stories. More recently, a number of Christian churches have revived the practice. Maybe we should try it next year! It wouldn’t hurt us to have a little more fun in church sometimes.

On the other hand, St. Paul’s conviction that “we are fools for the sake of Christ…” (1 Cor. 4:10) is something else altogether. A crucified Messiah was a “stumbling block” to some and “foolishness” to others. Paul’s point is that the cross of Jesus is a sign that God “chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise…” Conventional wisdom claims that the cross is indeed foolish. None of us would choose a suffering savior. No one was laughing on Good Friday. We would gladly skip from Palm Sunday to Easter.

But “God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom.” While I do not believe that God wanted Jesus to die, his inevitable death at the hand of human authorities did not stop God from turning human wisdom on its head. Everybody knows the grave is the end—except our foolish God. The resurrection means way more than playing a joke on the devil. It’s the sign and promise of life that not even death can destroy.

We believe that God is precisely in the last place anyone would go looking—the cross of Jesus. We believe that God is with us in our suffering, in every place our hearts break, in every anxiety, stress, fear, failure, loss—in all those places we think we are all alone. We believe in the One who is with us, who loves us, who seeks us out—no matter what.

We believe in a God who loves us so much that the cross was not too much to bear for our sake.

Seems foolish to me. I am thankful God’s wisdom is different.

Perhaps, in gratitude, we can be fools for Christ’s sake. We can love friends, strangers, and enemies alike; care for all in need; and offer compassion without condition.

It may seem foolish, but it’s just what this world needs.

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