Friday, April 1, 2011

April Fools

Become wise by walking with the wise; hang out with fools and watch your life fall to pieces. Proverbs 13:20 MSG

            April Fool’s Day, a holiday of uncertain origin, has been known for practical joking for many hundreds of years. Prior to the adoption of the Gregorian calendar in 1564, the date was observed as New Year’s Day by cultures as varied as the Roman and the Hindu. The holiday is related to the festival of the vernal equinox, which occurs on March 21. The year began with the newness of the spring season, the resurrection of life from the dark, frozen winter. The Passover celebration of the Hebrews being released from slavery took place on the fourteenth day of their first month, which became their New Year every year, and Christians celebrate Good Friday (the crucifixion of Jesus) and Easter (Jesus' resurrection) during the Passover celebration.
            If God didn’t love humor, would He have created the okapi (a zebra thing with giraffe face)? Baboons? Platypus? Parrots? Have you seen yourself in the bathtub? It’s good for the body and spirit to enjoy a joke, providing it’s not at the expense of hurt feelings.
            April Fools Day is the anniversary of my baptism. Over the years, some people might have wondered, “Hmm, did it ‘take’?” I'm happy to report that even though I've sinned repeatedly since my baptism at age 13, I don't need to be rebaptized to show my repentance. I claim, by faith, Jesus' perfect baptism for the remission of my sins. You were all called to travel on the same road and in the same direction, so stay together, both outwardly and inwardly. You have one Master, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who rules over all, works through all, and is present in all. Everything you are and think and do is permeated with Oneness. Ephesian 4:4-6 MSG
            My choice for funniest Bible verse is this: Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth. Numbers 12:3 NIV   Really—on the entire planet? Did Moses write that of himself, or did an editor insert that? As an editor myself, I love the wordplay. It's almost an oxymoron, like "jumbo shrimp" or "military intelligence." The absolutely most-humble man on the face of the earth.
            Pranks will be carried out on April Fools Day. Some radio deejay will get fired for perpetrating a hoax or calling out emergency services unnecessarily. Government leaders will say something outrageous and stupid (as usualpardon my cynicism), but when they see the outrage of their constituents, will be able, for one day, to backtrack by claiming it was a practical joke for April Fools.
            Paul mentored young Timothy, explaining how rough the Christian life can be because of hoaxes and deceptions. “Anyone who wants to live all out for Christ is in for a lot of trouble; there’s no getting around it. Unscrupulous con men will continue to exploit the faith. They’re as deceived as the people they lead astray. As long as they are out there, things can only get worse. But don’t let it faze you. Stick with what you learned and believed, sure of the integrity of your teachers— why, you took in the sacred Scriptures with your mother’s milk! There’s nothing like the written Word of God for showing you the way to salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. Every part of Scripture is God-breathed and useful one way or another—showing us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God’s way. Through the Word we are put together and shaped up for the tasks God has for us.” 2 Timothy 3:12-17 MSG.
            So be wary of Satan’s traps today. Be alert for the tricks of your friends and family. And before you step out the door, open your Bible and take out some wisdom on Christian living, perhaps from the Proverbs. Solomon had much to say about fools!

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