Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!
No I haven’t lost the plot completely. Over 400 years ago, when they changed over from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar, they moved the New Year from the beginning of April and spring, to the beginning of January. And those who refused to change were treated as fools. They were invited to non-existent parties and other pranks were played on them, and it is thought that this may be one of the origins of April Fools’ Day.
But actually all around the world, in many different cultures there are light-hearted festivals at this time of year celebrating the change from winter to spring… Hope, in place of despair…
Easter is part of that. In its pagan origins it was a celebration of fun and fecundity summed up in a decorated egg.

In the Christian celebration it is an exploration of the grounds of hope for humanity.

This week began with the seemingly foolish image of the King of Kings entering into Jerusalem on the back of a humble donkey. In John’s Gospel we read:
The next day the great crowd that had come for the Feast heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting,

"Hosanna!" "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!" "Blessed is the King of Israel!"

Jesus found a young donkey and sat upon it, as it is written,

"Do not be afraid, O Daughter of Zion; see, your king is coming, seated on a donkey's colt."

John 12:12-15 (ANIV)

He was a King like no other... and those in power probably sneered at this staged re-creation of the prophet's promise. But Jesus what Jesus did that day was, in some ways, intended to demonstrate that our hope does not lie in political or military power.

Next Sunday celebrates the ground of our hope... Christ's resurrection... But, let us beware of leaping straight from Palm Sunday to Easter, forgetting what lies between... Moving straight to resurrection without going through the bothersome business of death. And what a death...

Nearly 2000 years ago Paul wrote:

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.

For it is written: "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate."

Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. Jews demand miraculous signs and 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, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength.

1 Corinthians 1:18-25 (ANIV)

So are you an April fool?


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