We look at the coincidence of what day Easter falls on this year, and what lessons we can draw from it.
Every April Fools Day we are taught to expect the unexpected. Around every corner, behind every click, and beneath the cushions of every chair lurks the potential to be fooled. For one day of the year, we become cynics to everything we are presented with. Closed off for fear of trickery and embarrassment. But this year is different. This year Easter Sunday also falls on April the first.
It seems almost paradoxical for these two to share a date. April Fool’s results are at best a disappointment (Pasta doesn’t grow on trees?) and at worst a public humiliation; Easter Sunday is a celebration of union with God, of forgiveness, and of humanity made whole once again. The fool and forgiveness on the same day.
But what if these two aren’t as opposed as you would think?
The structure of an April Fool’s Prank is something like this: an individual finds something they usually take for granted is publically changed. It plays on human nature to take things for granted, disrupting held notions of the way things should work. What was one thing has been swapped out for something else. And this swapping out of one thing for another is what links the two days of April Fool’s Day and Easter, albeit to very different ends.
On Easter Sunday the tragedy of the Cross is deftly swapped out for the triumph of the Cross. The mourners who believed Jesus to be lost forever soon found that not to be the case. Three day’s worth of sorrow was eclipsed by a lifetime of joy. It was the ultimate surprise.
But what April Fool’s Day does also remind us of is the poisoning effect of wariness and suspicion. The disorientation of the world no longer being how we choose to see. Every April the 1st I refuse to trust any news article, toilet seat, bowl of sugar, or chair- I also am reminded of how much I take everything around me for granted. In guarding myself against practical jokes I begin to harden myself against every good intention and every reliable facet of my day. If we keep ourselves guarded, we won’t be surprised. Our image of the world won’t be changed.
But is that always a good thing?
Keeping myself guarded proves to be, for 99% of the day, without cause. After all, not every chair is primed for mock-flatulence. Walling myself in may protect me from harm, but it also shields me from growth, from being surprised by the pleasant things in life as well, and from hearing and believing good news as well.
And that is, for so many, the one thing they need to hear: the good news of Easter.
Whenever you see people hardened against the Gospel, what they are feeling may just be how you feel on April Fool’s: burned by one joke, and expecting another. Disappointment, betrayal and hurt may be what clouds their response to good news. It’s too good to be true; Christians are just liars and manipulators; none of it real. These are not the words of people who are enemies. They are the words of people who have been hurt and are steeling themselves against hurt once more.
This Easter is also April Fool’s Day, and in that spirit I will try and remember to expect the unexpected, to not guard myself against good things for fear of the bad, and to carry the understanding that good news is for everyone - especially those who have been burned before.
March 9th, 2018 - Posted & Written by Aaron Lewendon