Fools for Christ?

Fools for Christ?

There are strange things going on with the church calendar this year – Lent began on Valentine’s Day and finishes with Easter on April Fools Day.

While we and other churches were marking Ash Wednesday on February 14th, most of the population were more aware of Valentine’s Day. Card shops, florists, restaurants and many others made sure of that!

Then, in a few weeks’ time, we shall be celebrating the most important – and wonderful – date in the Christian year, Easter Day on Sunday April 1st.

I wondered if I could find some connection between the days.

Historians say the Romans brought us Valentine’s Day. Emperor Claudius executed two men — both named Valentine — on February 14th of different years in the third century. Their martyrdom was honoured by the Catholic Church with the celebration of St. Valentine's Day.

So Valentine’s Day began with the sacrifice of two Christians for their faith. This year, on that same day, we began to prepare ourselves to mark Christ’s sacrifice because of his love for humankind.

What about Easter Day being on April Fools Day? Saint Paul wrote about being “fools for the sake of Christ” and, in his letter to one of the first churches, said that he proclaimed “Christ crucified, a stumbling-block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles.”

The resurrection may be foolishness to those who refuse to believe it took place and to accept its message of new life for all.

But for those of us who believe, it’s a massive cause for celebration.

Rev Peter Crumpler

This article first appeared in the March 2018 edition of the St Leonard's Parish Magazine