The resurrection - unlikely but true
As Mark Fairweather Tall recovers from his family’s April Fool pranks, he reflects that while the cross may be foolishness to some, the Easter story is a life-changer to those who believe.
On Monday this week I opened the door of the bathroom to discover that my dressing gown belt had been tied across to block me getting out. A little later I went to my work bag only to discover that it was covered in cling film! It was, of course, April 1 and my children do like to embrace the occasion!
We don’t know exactly how April Fool’s day started: some link it to a fourteenth century poem by Geoffrey Chaucer where a fox plays a prank on a rooster, thirty-two days “syn March began”, which would of course be April 1. Another theory suggests that it originated in Europe as ‘April Fish Day’. There are lots of fish in French streams and rivers around the beginning of April, so they are easy to catch out of the river. It then soon became a tradition to play tricks on people on this day as well.
Whatever the origin, clearly it is a popular tradition today. Newspapers, in particular, are keen to take part. This year’s April Fool stories reported in the press included the new 50p piece that would supposedly feature a range of different emojis. The article in The Sun was written by ‘Penny Drops’. The Times reported on the new ‘Drone Dog Walker’ that allows owners to talk to their pets from the comfort of their home whilst the drone walks the dog! The Daily Express reported that the UK’s continued involvement in Eurovision is in doubt because of Brexit. And so it goes on.
Interestingly, there are other articles in the newspapers that sound like they are April Fools stories but actually turn out to be true. For example, the Daily Mail reported the complaint of a Nigerian politician that Nigerians ‘are ordering pizzas from Britain and having them flown 4000 miles on BA flights as status symbols.’ The Independent reports that the US military is turning to fish and other sea creatures to help them monitor enemy activity - apparently scientists want to employ their sensory abilities to pick up signals that might be missed by conventional technology. These stories were all reported on April 1, and it surprising how many stories sound like they are an April Fools when in fact they aren’t. Sometimes the truth is surprising.
We are moving into that time of year when Christians celebrate that which at first glance might seem so unlikely: A man who did nothing wrong was crucified on a cross, but this wasn’t a defeat but victory. What is more, on the third day the dead man rose and so defeated death offering hope to those who believe in him that they too can live, even though they die.
Paul writes: “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:18) Talking of a Saviour who is crucified as a criminal makes no sense from a human perspective. Paul goes on to say: “Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, the power of God and the wisdom of God.” (1 Corinthians v22-24).
John’s gospel tells us that Jesus appeared to the disciples behind locked doors on the evening of Easter Sunday. Thomas wasn’t with them and he would not believe unless he could see the nail marks in the hands of Jesus and put his finger where the nails were. It seemed too unlikely a story to believe. Yet a week later he would meet the risen Lord Jesus.
Sometimes even the most unlikely stories turn out to be true. May we know God’s blessings over the Easter season as we celebrate the wonderful truth of the foolishness of the cross and the incredible revelation of the resurrected Christ.
The above image is courtesy of pixabay.com
Rev Mark Fairweather Tall is a Minister at Norwich Central Baptist Church.
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