Up Front and Personal

On Easter, the Cross Turns Into a Delight

By Carol Powell

What a year this has been! First we have Ash Wednesday on St. Valentine’s Day. Now we have Easter Sunday on April Fools Day.

There really is a religious connection to April Fools Day. Apparently one of the popes wanted to transfer to the Gregorian calendar along about the 17th century. The previous calendar had the beginning of the year on April 1 but the Gregorian calendar transferred the beginning of the year to Jan. 1. As usual some people didn’t support change so they stubbornly clung to April 1. These people became known as April Fools.

Fast forward to the present time. What possible connection is there between this and Easter Resurrection? Well, according to the times in which He lived Christ would definitely have been considered a “fool” by the powers-that-be. Think about it. “Love your enemy. Do good to those who hate you. Turn the other cheek.” Not to mention the fact that he ate with sinners, challenged the Sabbath, healed the sick who were considered accursed by God, put the poor on a pedestal, and encouraged people to invite others to their homes who could not possibly return the favor. Those who were powerful, rich and haughty would have considered the beatitudes ridiculous. Who does these things, only a fool who has no ego and prefers others to his own selfish concerns.

And look at the motley crew he chose to follow him! What a crowd! Smelly fishermen who always misunderstood His message and vied with one another for first place. How could they possibly change the world! Then, to make matters worse, they all left Him and let Him die on a cross abandoned by all except his mother, a few women and one apostle. Jesus would have been considered a “fool” with very poor judgment. But, as St. Paul said the “foolishness of God is wiser than the wisdom of men.”

Death turned into resurrection. The weak followers were strengthened by the Spirit to the point that they became martyrs for the same Lord they had denied and through the power of that same Spirit were able to spread the Gospel throughout the known world.

Today, God continues to call the seemingly “weak” and little people of the world. Weakness and foolishness is transformed in resurrection. The horror of the cross becomes the seed of Easter glory. Sinners receive the power to become saints. The Spirit speaks through the illiterate who have given God their heart. Everything is turned inside out. God can transform all weakness, all disability, all difficulties, all crosses into resurrection.

I once did the readings at the wedding of a woman whose life had been very difficult. She was severely disabled by cerebral palsy and had come through tremendous difficulties with a strong spirit and deep faith in God. After the ceremony I turned to her mother who was elated and said, “Your cross has become your greatest delight.” She looked at me with tears in her eyes and said, “You are so right.”

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