Weekly Reflection – Not another April fools…

01 April 2022

Canon Derek

Great news! We realise that some of our weekly newsletter readers miss the days when the cathedral newsletter was a printed copy. You could keep it on your mantelpiece and check the diary at a glance. So at great expense, the next edition will be a glossy magazine, with colour pictures of your favourite clergy and a free stick of rhubarb (while stocks last). *

*Just in case you believed that first paragraph, please take note of the date on which this Catch Up is being published.

A few weeks before I was born, the BBC famously broadcast an episode of Panorama purporting to show the spaghetti harvest in Switzerland. Apparently hundreds of people rang the BBC to ask where they could buy some spaghetti trees. It’s thought that many believed the story because it was presented by Richard Dimbleby.

Nowadays we have become familiar with the concept of Fake News, to the extent that Donald Trump would often use that phrase to describe any story that showed him in a bad light. On social media, where anyone can post anything, vast numbers of people are being fooled by stories that are not true, sometimes with serious consequences.  Meanwhile a clergy friend recently met someone who truly believed that the earth is flat, and that the pictures from space are faked. Conspiracy theories abound, it seems. It’s getting easier to fool people on the first of April, if they are fooled all year round.

Isaiah chapter 53 is widely regarded as a powerful prophecy concerning the suffering of Christ, but the first line says, “Who has believed our message?” It’s as though the prophet is saying, “You’re not going to believe this, but….” The chapter goes on to describe a “Suffering Servant”, recognising that it would be truly surprising that someone apparently insignificant would suffer on behalf of the world. Yet he did. The prophesy came true.

Of course, there was another even bigger surprise ahead (spoiler alert). The Suffering Servant was indeed violently executed but it was not the end. Have you noticed that the resurrection accounts describe Jesus almost playfully taking his time before revealing that he has risen? Mary Magdalene mistakes him for the gardener. On the road to Emmaus with two disciples, he lets them think he knows nothing about recent events, before they suddenly “get the joke” as he blesses the meal when they sit down to eat. Surprise!

PS: There is one place in the world where April Fool’s Day is celebrated as a bank holiday, a city where there are parades, costumes and everyone joins in trying to trick each other, and even statues are dressed up in funny clothes. That city is Odessa, in Ukraine. It’s going to be hard to have fun this year. Please pray for them.

Blessings in Christ
Canon Derek
Diocesan Director of Ordinands and Vocations

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