Hosanna! – It’s No Joke…

Today is an odd conflation of church tradition and April Fool’s Day.  I could not pass up the opportunity to blog about the somewhat ironic nature of this co-occurrence, so here it is.

Today is Palm Sunday in most Christian churches around the world.  Today we celebrate Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem where He was recognized as the Prince of Peace coming in the name of the Lord.  Many churches will sing songs of Hosanna and praise while little children (and often even adults) waive palm branches.  This is to re-enact in a small way the laying down of palm branches as Jesus entered Jerusalem riding a donkey.

It is right for us to recognize Jesus in this way, to praise Him, and to remind ourselves of the place that He has in our lives.  He is the Prince of Peace; He came to provide salvation for us through His death to pay for our sins and His resurrection as defeating death.  The songs that we sing today praise and glorify Him!

In contrast, April Fool’s Day’s history, though a bit uncertain, comes from a calendar change in France (in the 1500s) moving New Year’s week from March 25-April 1 to January 1.  Apparently word did not get around very quickly because many people did not realize that the calendar had not changed.  Those who did not were considered “fools,” and tricks were played on them.  The fun has now spread world-wide, and wherever you are on this day you can be assured that some kind of prank will occur near you if not to you.

How could these two topics ever have anything to do with each other?  How do we think about these two seemingly different concepts on the same day?

Well, actually, the Bible does that for us!

Consider 1Corinthians 1:18-31 –

18For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.” 20Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, God decided, through the foolishness of our proclamation, to save those who believe. 22For Jews demand signs and Greeks desire wisdom, 23but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25For God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength.26Consider your own call, brothers and sisters: not many of you were wise by human standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. 27But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; 28God chose what is low and despised in the world, things that are not, to reduce to nothing things that are, 29so that no one might boast in the presence of God. 30He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification and redemption, 31in order that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”

I know that there are many who think that following God is foolish, that it is a waste of time, or that it is not for them.  But honestly, it is the only thing that seems to make sense out of my life and life in general.  God is not a joke; the fact that Jesus saves is not a joke.  It is a reality of a relationship that transcends all of the ugliness that is around us and that pulls us up from the depths of despair into the loving arms of a Father who loves us and a Savior who died for us.

Consider Psalm 30:11-12 -

You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;
you have loosed my sackcloth
and clothed me with gladness,
 that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever!

The bizarre thing about Hosanna and April Fool’s Day is that they do conflate well together in a sense.  When God has turned my mourning in to dancing and has clothed me with gladness, I am free from the burden of grief and can laugh!  When I think of the Hebrew dance parties that I have seen in various movies about the time period of the Psalms, I know that this type of dancing involves laughter.

In the foolishness of the cross, we find freedom from our guilt and shame.  That freedom allows for joyful dancing, gladness, and singing the praises of the one whose wisdom seems foolish.

O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever!

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