24 Waldingfield Road,
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
This year we celebrate Easter on April 1st, April Fool’s day.
As Jesus hung on the cross, he was mocked by the Jewish leaders, the people and the Roman soldiers [Luke 23:35-37]. What was the “King of the Jews” doing on a cross? What a fool!
At the birth of Jesus, the Magi, expecting to find the new king of the Jews, arrived at Herod’s palace and asked where Jesus was to be found [Matthew 2:1-2]. Instead they found him in a smelly stable. What kind of madness is this?
The life of Jesus was full of contrasts and challenges to convention. The Jewish leaders chastised Jesus for the sinful company he kept, tax gatherers, prostitutes and other “sinners”. With a child in front of him, Jesus said “Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” [Mt 18:4 NIV] Such a man of challenging ideas!
In his letter to the people of Corinth in Greece, Paul brilliantly encapsulates the paradox of our faith:
“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 person? Where is the teacher of the law? 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 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 human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.
Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things – and the things that are not – to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God – that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.” [1 Cor 1: 18-30 NIV]
Do our lives reflect the counter-cultural nature of Christianity?
Love for the poor? Generosity to refugees, migrants and strangers? Outspokenness against injustice?
How appropriate it is then that Easter Day is on April Fool’s day!
We’re having a Lent course at St John’s, Sudbury, at 10:00am – 11:00am on each Thursday in March beginning on March 1st. We will be following “Living Faith- Invitations from the cross”. There’s no need to buy a book but if you’d like one, I have some at £5 each. I look forward to seeing you at any Thursday you can come.