April 1st is here again and with it All Fools Day. But what lies behind it?
Well, its origins may lie in several pagan spring festivals such as the Roman end of winter orgy ’Hilaria’; the Celtic god Lud, who cured the curse of demons by spraying them with a brew of crushed insects in water.
And the story of Persephone. In this Greek myth, she was snatched away by Pluto, the god of the underworld, from her mother the corn-spirit Ceres, who followed the trail of Persephone’s indignant shrieks across the land to no avail – the first fool’s errand!
Or there again, All Fools may simply be the day commemorating Christ being mocked and tormented before his crucifixion. Whatever the origin, at noon the foolery must cease!
But in the New Testament we meet a different sort of fool. This is a fool whose foolishness is seen not just in the rejection of wisdom, but in the rejection of the fount of all wisdom, God Himself (Psalm 14:1; Romans Chapter 1).
Indeed, it was the failure of Jesus’ disciples to understand that the death and resurrection of Christ had been foretold by the prophets, which led the risen Jesus to say: ‘How foolish you are’ (Luke 24).
No wonder then that St. Paul, one of the ancient world’s greatest thinkers, could later proclaim ’we are fools for Christ’ because his life had been transformed by the appearance of Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9). And it is this apparently ’foolish’ fact that lies at the heart of the Christian celebration of Easter.
So who might be a fool today?
Well, it appears fashionable to believe almost anything no matter how foolish it might seem.
But a Christian’s faith is based on historical fact – the life and death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, recorded for us in the pages of the Bible and based on the eyewitness accounts of those who saw these things for themselves (Luke1:1-4,1 Corinthians 15:1-11, 2 Peter 1:16, John 20:30-31).
So if it’s true that Christ is ‘the power of God and the wisdom of God’ (1 Corinthians1:24), then surely the wisest thing would be to do everything possible to discover more about Him before it is too late (Luke 12:13-21).
For everyone who comes to me, said Jesus, and hears my words and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house upon the rock, or built his life on sure foundations (Luke 6:46-49).
With best wishes, Charles Jefferson