Just as we began the season of Lent with a highly unusual occurrence - Ash Wednesday falling on the same day as Valentine’s Day - we end it with another.
This year, Easter Sunday is on April 1 - yup, April Fools Day. And while that might seem to be an opening for endless punch lines, there is, from the earliest days of our spiritual tradition, a strong association between Easter and foolishness.
The prominent early Christian leader Paul anchors his first letter to the Christian community he founded in the ancient Greek city of Corinth in the idea that our tradition is grounded in foolishness - “folly”, “unwiseness”.
“For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us it is the power of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:18)
“For God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength.” (1:25)
Several other times in that letter, Paul refers to the message of the cross being “foolishness” or “God’s foolishness”. He is not saying however, that it actually is foolish - folly or unwiseness. He is saying that it is only seen that way from the perspective of what we would call “conventional wisdom”, or as it is commonly referred to in sermons, “the ways of the world”. The “wisdom” of the ways of the world says that force equals strength, money equals power, and fame equals success.
By that standard then, the message of the cross - the wisdom of the Christian tradition - that true strength lies in compassion and vulnerability; that true power lies in caring for the weak and providing justice to the oppressed; that true success lies in service and giving - is foolish.
But it’s not to God. And it must not be to us. For throughout history, the world’s wisdom has served humanity and creation far less than God’s foolishness has.
So let us be foolish this Easter, and always. Let us be a community of “wise fools” for God’s sake. For each other’s sake. And for the world’s sake.