Sunday, April 1, 2007

April Fools for Christ

(Sabbath Blog #11)

Today is April 1st and thus April Fool’s Day. The extensive research I did on the subject (five minutes looking at a web site or two) revealed that the origins of the day are uncertain. The roots of the day probably lie in various pagan observances that were marked by such jocularities as dressing in costumes and playing pranks. While some efforts have been made in the past to Christianize the day, there’s really no connection. And I’m not advocating for one.

Still, maybe it wouldn’t be a bad idea to have a day when we remind ourselves that Almighty God did some mighty foolish things in carrying out his plan of salvation. They were foolish, that is, as the world reckons foolishness. He chose to have his Son come to earth to live as one of us. He had his Son leave his unrestricted existence to take on the limitations of human life. He had him leave his heavenly home where he was adored by angels to come to earth where he would be despised and rejected by people. He had him live a life in which he showed compassion and love and acceptance to the worst outcasts of the society in which he lived. The Father chose to have his Son give his life as a ransom for undeserving and largely ungrateful humanity. He chose the Cross as the way for his Son.

So maybe it wouldn’t be a bad idea to have a day to commemorate the foolish things that God did in Jesus to bring about his plan of salvation. Wait, we do have such a day and it’s coming later this week. It’s called Good Friday.

Also, maybe it wouldn’t be a bad idea to have a day when we remind ourselves that we are called to be fools for Christ. I’m frankly not too sure that very many of us really live in the foolish ways that our Lord calls us to live.

Here is what Paul said as he reflected on what it meant for him and his companions to live as “fools for the sake of Christ”: “To the present hour we are hungry and thirsty, we are poorly clothed and beaten and homeless, and we grow weary from the work of our own hands. When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; when slandered, we speak kindly. We have become like the rubbish of the world, the dregs of all things, to this very day” (1 Corinthians 4:11-13 NRSV).

It is God’s “foolish” way for his followers that we live lives that don’t characteristically lead to comfort, to prestige, and even to success as the world reckons success. Our lives are to be so counter-cultural, so opposite from the ways of the world, that we are looked upon with suspicion and even with contempt by those whose lives are ruled by another ruler. In such living lies our witness, because in such living lies the kind of weakness in which God’s strength is made obvious. Obviously, though, we need to be reminded.

So maybe it wouldn’t be a bad idea to have a day on which we can be reminded of our call to be fools for Christ. Wait, we do have such a day. It’s coming this week and every week. It comes any time that we have the opportunity to experience the risen Christ in our lives, to read the Bible that teaches us of his way, to be inspired by people who have lived and who are living the Jesus kind of life, and to let God’s grace and our faith truly take hold so that we show his love in those powerfully foolish ways.

It’s the day called Every Day.

5 comments:

The Beast said...

I am certain we will be seeing yet another Mike Ruffin article on Ethics Daily with this effort.

Tom Wilkinson said...

Thank you for the moving words. I discovered your post from the beast's link over to your site. May you experience the blessings of Holy Week!

Mike Ruffin said...

Beast, thanks for the compliment. Tom, I appreciate you reading the blog and I'm grateful that the Beast linked to it. May the blessing of Holy Week go with you both!

Floyd said...

Pastor Mike,

I also read your April Fool's article from The Beast's Lair and would like your permission to read it for my Wednesday night
"Grow" class in two days.

Sincerely
Floyd

Mike Ruffin said...

Floyd,

You certainly have my permission to use it with your class. Please let me know if they have any feedback. Blessings to you!