Thursday, April 01, 2010

How Foolish is that?

For weeks now I’ve been reflecting on the irony of Maundy Thursday falling on April Fool’s Day. Questions keep swimming through my mind. They started in full force earlier this week when the gospel story had Mary (possibly) Magdalene pouring expensive perfume onto Jesus’ feet. How foolish is she? thought the observing witnesses. And then today, Jesus says to his disciples I will wash your feet. What? they wondered. How foolish is that? And then we go onto the greater story – a man would die and rise from the dead. He would die so that others might live. He did it willingly. How foolish is that?

I also wonder if Jesus asked the same question of his heavenly Father? Really? Put me on a stake and kill me, so others might have life? You’ve got to be kidding? They say he did not question. Still...I wonder.

The apostle Paul says, "We are fools for Christ's sake.” I Corinthians 4:10

The archetypal Fool is celebrated today. Coming in a variety of forms (clown, court jester, trickster, happy child), the Fool always causes us to take notice and reminds us how to Lighten Up! This lively character has a unique way of embracing life and turning 'normal' circumstances upside down.

Don’t you think this sounds just a bit like Mary and/or Jesus: “embracing life and turning 'normal' circumstances upside down?”

Today is Maundy Thursday and it is April Fool’s Day – I believe there is no irony. Will you consider this? Where might you be taking life too seriously? Where are you living so lightly, others are forgotten? Will you wash another’s feet today - literally or metaphorically? Will you tiptoe through the tulips of God’s creation? Will you embrace life for what it is – foolish, dark, majestic? Will you be a fool for Love’s sake?

(If you haven't signed up for my diamonds in the soul newsletter yet, click on the box in the right hand column for further discussion of "the Fool.")

'neighborhood reflections' © lucy 3.29.10

13 comments:

tinkerbell the bipolar faerie said...

Was it really Mary Magdalene? Or some conflation? The Church has wanted us to believe Mary was the penitant whore ... and it seems she was not. That's the April fool's joke, I think.

lucy said...

tinkerbell - not sure anyone really knows. if you click the link, you'll see what wikipedia has to say :-) (the scholar of our times)... thanks for stopping by.

claire said...

Following Christ faithfully will make anyone look foolish -- vulnerable, gentle, compassionate, simplest life...

Being such a fool is not given to everyone, but it sure is worth giving it a shot.

As to taking oneself too seriously, hm... I'm in great need of the Fool :-)

Thank you for a thought-provoking post.

Blessings.

PS: earlier this week, it was Mary of Bethany who poured the expensive perfume on Jesus' feet. In another gospel, Mary of Magdala (healed of seven demons -- and prostitution was not one of them); and a third woman as well, possibly nameless, I do not remember.
The Fathers of the Church have much to be blamed for Mary Magdalen's bad reputation. ... They did not know any better, poor souls.

Abbey of the Arts said...

Thanks for sharing such a foolish morning with me, it was a source of refreshment to me. Love, C

lucy said...

claire - thanks for chiming in. jesus' way of life is certainly upside down from most cultures, isn't it?

re: the Mary's - i had to look up tinkerbell's word, "conflation." it's a good one and sounds like what we have in this story.

lucy said...

C - there's nothing like a little foolishness to restore a sense of balance (or at least momentary refreshemnt)!! the pleasure was mine. xoxo

Kel said...

to be a christian is to live counterculturally (upside down) most of the time - in fact i find it's a good radar tool - if my life choices make sense to the onlooking world, then pehaps i have made the wrong one! If my life choices have the onlooking world scratching their head, calling me a fool, my radar beeps and suggests i'm on course, even if it appears to some i'm flying upside down

now finding balance between too serious and living to lightly - that's another directional challenge entirely - one where the gps is usually slanted more to one than the other, then tipping in the opposite direction when feeling out of kilter . . . a lifelong journey

Karen said...

Another post to ponder...is it a need for balance, or the wisdom to know when one should be serious, and when one should be light? I don't think it's possible to compare our own experience/choice against any other person though--too much of that already goes on--the appropriate choice would be different for everyone...hmm...what's coming to me is a feeling that I can't worry about BEING the Fool--either being upside down or turning things upside down...there can be such freedom in being the Fool, as long as you are unconcerned with watching eyes...

Barbara said...

In high school, my ueber-pious days, I saw a bookmark honouring St. Francis of Assisi. He was said to be the most Christ-like of any man who ever lived. The quote on the bookmark was relevant to your post, lucy: the Lord said to me he wished me to be a fool and a simpleton the likes of which the world has never seen.

There is, as Karen wrote above, great freedom in being the fool. Little is expected of you, their guard is lowered, they will listen (perhaps hoping to be entertained). Remember Lear's Fool, the wisest one in that play?

lucy said...

kel - may the godly fool help you find the balance which you seek :-)
thanks for sharing your wisdom here.

karen - yes, the fool doesn't ask us to consider consequences, but rather to simply BE (foolish as that may seem). for me, it's finding the place that feels most authentic (which is not always the place that feels most comfortable!) - sometimes it's laughing in the darkness and other times it's being serious when the frivolity (or not taking something serious like the earth or another human being) doesn't feel like the appropriate response... or maybe it's taking time and resources to go away and WRITE! fabulous!!!

lucy said...

barbara - i love the quote you shared from st. francis (and i adore "uber-pious"... oh, we've all been there, i think... at least i know i have!)

the jester is indeed often the wisest one around!!

His Girl Friday said...

great post :)

lucy said...

thanks, hgf!