This trip around the calendar year, Easter shares its date with April Fools Day! That fact got me to thinking about this confluence of holidays, wondering about what that might mean. With these words comes my invitation for your thoughts on the subject.
I really enjoy April Fools Day. Always have, always will—even into my later years. Show me a good prank—carefully chosen semi-silliness where no harm occurs, no one is cruelly demeaned and laughter is available to everyone—and I’m all in. (Colleagues of mine through the years will attest that prank-playing was one of the ways I tried to add a bit of hilarity to the workplace.) Always “inappropriate”—prank/hoaxes push at the limits of what’s deemed acceptable by those in charge of these things—April Fools Day momentarily invites critique of over-serious, over-wrought, over-stuffed or over-regulated views of life and work. The “foolishness” of this day can hide in plain sight some pieces of wisdom that might be otherwise unwise to reveal directly. For that reason, tyrants, bully-bosses, autocrats and blatant oppressors don’t like this kind of criticism, and so might try to limit the content of any imprudence by their formal or informal punishments.
Nevertheless, a bit of tomfoolery is necessary every so often. It’s available as a tool for anyone who wants to level the playing field where power is not shared, places where true absurdity may exist at the top levels of a bureaucracy or business. April Fools can offer temporary legitimacy to a gentle protest against garden-variety injustices.
In my mind, Easter can be the same kind of event, a pushback of grand proportions—against the powers of darkness and death. Life-giving truths want to be released from their Lenten interim: We will rise from the dead, just like Jesus did; God still pushes aside whatever hoaxes Satan has in mind and victories of several hues continue as part of our faith-lives. Renewals of every kind—the natural world, relationships, institutions, ideas—bask in the warm hopes that Jesus’ resurrection makes possible.
Some years, though, I find myself wondering whether that’s all there is to Easter. As an older adult, I think there might be something more than what’s embedded in the wonderful texts for this day’s worship. So I’m asking you: How could some of April Fools Day sensitivities mix with Easter’s emotions and intent?
Could Easter also take rejoicing about life one step further, into “So what?” or “Now what?” territory? Could we move the Easter-inspired idea of new life into places where well-being is being crushed by the powerful—those who may be sucking life out of their employees, their residents, their customers? Their oldest relatives? And could the “What’s next?” part of Easter include some seemingly silly mischief —perhaps instigated by older adults like you and me—that reminds civic leaders, business owners, politicians and other rich/powerful people of their responsibilities to foster life? If pranks are a form of persuasive speech, perhaps those of us who are least suspect in these matters—gentle, quiet oldsters!—could take some leadership here.
I’m going to keep wondering about this April Fools Meets Easter phenomenon, and am curious about your thoughts as well. For now, I’ll look forward to how this once-in-a-lifetime convergence could help make this most sacred day into a time of sacred foolishness as well.
Something that could warrant an ongoing celebration….!
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