The foolishness of God

The Standard April 1, 2020 (but switched to April 2 edition)

In an unforeseen turn of events UNC basketball head coach Roy Williams has reached out to one of their most avid fans and has hired my husband to be their Director of Recruiting. April Fools! Most of us have had some kind of fib told to us or a prank played on us on the first day of April. The origins of the celebration are a bit mysterious. According to History.com, “Some historians speculate that April Fools’ Day dates back to 1582, when France switched from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar, as called for by the Council of Trent in 1563. People who were slow to get the news or failed to recognize that the start of the new year had moved to January 1 and continued to celebrate it during the last week of March through April 1 became the butt of jokes and hoaxes. Historians also have linked April Fools’ Day to festivals such as Hilaria, which was celebrated in ancient Rome at the end of March and involved people dressing up in disguises. There’s also speculation that April Fools’ Day was tied to the vernal equinox, or the first day of spring in the Northern Hemisphere, when Mother Nature fooled people with changing, unpredictable weather.”

Whatever the origins, few people actually enjoy having a prank played on them or finding themselves in a position of determining whether or not someone is telling the truth. Even fewer people enjoy being characterized as foolish. Still, there are countless times in the Gospels where Jesus advises his followers to act in ways considered foolish by most standards. Lose your life to find it. The last will be first. Take my yoke upon you and your burden will be light. Give and it will be given to you. If you become poor, then you will be rich.

This Sunday we celebrate Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem where the crowds shouted joyful Hosannas, but crowds later in the week cried, “Crucify him!” In the eyes of some in the world the events of Holy Week represent sheer foolishness. They make little sense to the natural mind. To us who believe, however, it is the most welcome news. “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. (1 Corinthians 1:18-29)

 

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