Devotions from Tri-City ELCA Pastors – Pastor Tia Pelz, April 01, 2020

Happy April Fools’ Day, dear Fools of Christ,

What’s the funniest way you were ever fooled on April 1st? Or how did you fool someone?

When I was a kid, I was always in awe and excitement alike for this day. I prepared for it to fool my friends and family. And I usually forgot over my own great plans to pay attention to other people’s jokes.

But the honor for the best April Fools’ Joke ever belongs to God. And no, I am not talking about Easter and resurrection, fooling the authorities into thinking that they had won against this Jesus and then witness even more witnesses once he was dead. People who claimed to have seen him.

I am talking about the cross. That’s when God made a fool out of us, Jesus’ believers. The fool was more like a shock. People couldn’t believe it and had to believe it because they had seen it with their very own eyes. Jesus was dead. The son of God was dead. The end of the world had come. For Paul, it seems, if God played an April Fools’ joke on humanity, the joke was more in the crucifixion than it was in the empty tomb.

What shocked Paul to his core was the dawning realization that God had, in fact, died naked while gasping for breath under the watchful gaze of curious onlookers. And that’s why Paul wrote to the church in Corinth: “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.” (1 Cor. 1:18).

It’s so much easier to believe in a triumphant God who does miracles like a super-hero and grants me what I have been praying for. It’s hard to also believe that God is at work when people lose their jobs and die and just don’t see a future anymore. That’s what Paul finds most bizarre and offensive and, indeed, foolish,about God. And I agree. The resurrection didn’t just reveal some great victory over death. It also revealed a suffering, humiliated man as the Lord of the universe. It inscribed the defeat and suffering into the definition of what salvation is all about. Easter was an ironic statement of where God is now to be looked for. Today, we can all look up and remember the most famous April Fools’ joke of all time: that God was there at “the place of the skull” (John 19:17), in the blood and the tears of broken humanity, reconciling the world to himself. And that he is now to be found in our tears too, dear Fools of Christ!

Your Pastor Tia!

By the way: Humor is known to help make people resilient in stressful situations. This means, that all of us should laugh like crazy at least once a day now. The more the better. The image below made me laugh hysterically. I mean everything that can be seen on Zoom is perfect: the hair, the lipstick, the jewelry, the tidy background, and even some flowers. Let’s get some new gowns and sleepwear and dress up, the time has never been better for this.


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