01 April 2010

April Fools & Holy Weak

For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength. (1 Corinthians 1:25)

I hope the irony of April Fools’ Day and Maundy Thursday coinciding hasn’t been lost.

Though, Maundy Thursday may strike even the most ardent churchgoer as the junior varsity of Holy Week activities, it may actually hold the key to the whole week.  Sure, we all know: Friday=Cross, Sunday=Resurrection (chocolate bunnies, special outfits and hats, peeps, etc…).  But what about Thursday?

Maundy comes from a Latin word for mandate/command.  This refers to Jesus saying, “A new commandment I give unto you, that you love one another as I have loved you.” (Jn 13:34) .  This statement, of course comes well after Jesus interrupted a nice dinner with his palls, tied a towel around his waste and got on with the washing of the feet.  Foolishness.  Weird stuff.  At least Peter thought so.

Jesus explained himself by saying, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.”  Perhaps the best summary for the whole of Holy Week.  Foolishness that later comes to make sense in light of Sunday.  We later come to really see that foolish weakness overcomes conventional wisdom and strength.

Peter didn’t understand the foolishness of what Jesus was doing.  Frankly, neither do I most of the time.  Jesus patiently uses this as a teachable moment saying, “If I am your Teacher and Lord and I wash your feet, do this to each other.”

Think about how silly this would be for us.  “You mean you want me to drop everything and getting down to the dirt of where someone has been?  You’re kidding me.  You want me to clean feet?  No way.”  Jesus shows us a foolish type of friendship and asks his friends and us to follow suit.

I wish these two “holidays” coincided a bit more often.  It might make it a bit easier to remember how Christ’s wisdom looked like foolishness, how his strength looked like weakness, and his victory looked like defeat.  The shape of his very life, looks on first blush, like death.

I pray that we really embrace this call to be holy April fools, that we take on this free and costly life.  That we see strength in apparent weakness.  That we get comfortable under the table doing this foolish work of friendship and service.  Amen.

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