Minister’s March Message
March 01, 2018
This year Lent began on Ash Wednesday which was also Valentine’s Day and Easter Day will be the 1st April which is also April Fools ’ Day. This clash only happened three times last century and the last time was 1945. It happened because the date of Easter changes every year – something that was decided in 325AD at the Council of Nicaea.
The Council of Nicaea was an ecumenical meeting of bishops called together by the Roman Emperor Constantine to try to attain consensus throughout the Christian Church. It decided that Easter Day would always fall on the first Sunday after the first full moon occurring on or after the March equinox [i.e. time or date at which the sun crosses the equator – when day and night are equal in length]. This timing was chosen because of the biblical stories that tell Jesus’ death and resurrection occurring around the same time as the Jewish Passover – which is celebrated on the first full moon of the equinox.
It somehow seems appropriate for Lent to begin on Valentine’s Day, on what is commonly thought of as a day of love. As we go through the 40 days of Lent we are reminded of the unwavering love that Jesus showed in choosing to go to Jerusalem and face all that awaited Him there.
April Fools’ Day may seem like a strange day for Christians to celebrate the truth of Jesus’ resurrection but perhaps this year it also gives significance to Paul’s word from 1 Corinthians chapter 1, “We preach Christ crucified … for the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom”. The foolishness of God shows us in Jesus’ life, death and resurrection how to make ourselves vulnerable; how to soften our hearts; how to put others first; how to forgive; how to be compassionate; how to lift others up as Jesus lifts us up. Jesus and all He reveals about vulnerability, self-sacrifice and above all unconditional love challenges the way many choose to live their lives today. Some dismiss those Christ like values to focus on needs and desires that often lead to unjust, intolerant and quarrelsome patterns of behaviour that pose questions about what it means to be wise and what it means to be foolish in this world. So may we as the followers of Jesus Christ celebrate God’s kind of foolishness – not only this Easter but each and every day of our lives.
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