This year Easter Sunday coincides with April Fools’ Day – a theme that David Newton explores in this short piece which appeared in the local village magazine, the Caldecote Journal, and is reproduced here.
The secular and the sacred seem to be intent on crossing their boundary lines this year. Ash Wednesday fell on St Valentine’s Day and now Easter Day coincides with April Fools’ Day.
I’m not very good at pulling off practical jokes. The only one I remember trying as a kid was swapping the salt for the sugar one breakfast, and my mum pouring salt all over her Weetabix. It felt pretty lame, even at the time.
Practical jokes don’t often seem to end with much gusto. The person tricked just feels embarrassed and the joker more often than not just feels awkward. Apparently back in the 50s the BBC did a Panaroma episode about the spaghetti harvest, and a vast number of people wrote in asking to buy a spaghetti plant. The next day they had to admit the hoax – an awkward moment for a newsreader and serious embarrassment for the letter writers.
Still, I’m sure many hoaxes and practical jokes will happen again this year. Hopefully some will be more successful than my attempt or the BBC’s.
There have been some, of course, who have suggested Jesus’ resurrection was nothing more than a hoax or a practical joke. The bible itself reports a cover up story which tried to suggest the disciples had just nicked the body; but that story was hard to square with the hundreds claiming to have seen Jesus in the days after his crucifixion.
For me, naturally, the resurrection is no joke, but it does make me laugh. You could even say there is something deeply ‘foolish’ about the resurrection. For at its heart is the idea that there is always a space for hope – hope for life and love and peace and joy, even when all we can see are the dark opposites of those things. The resurrection says that in the end violence is not ultimate power and that, despite how it sometimes seems, love is the strongest force in the universe.
If thinking that is foolish then I’ll happily be called a fool. So I wish you all a very foolish Easter.
Revd David Newton