April Fool’s Day 1979 was a red-letter, rather than a red-nose, day for me!
I was just 16 and it was when I first made a public stand as a Christian; the day I was confirmed and received into membership at Epsom Methodist Church.
Some may have considered me a foolish clown, but I was happy to be a ‘fool’ for Christ, for Saint Paul said, ‘the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God’ (1 Corinthians 1:18). Nevertheless, it was still a big deal to profess my faith before sceptical family and friends.
The first person to congratulate me after that service was my future mother-in-law (although Ann certainly didn’t see that coming at the time)! I’ll always remember this woman I didn’t know well giving me an encouraging hug as she warmly welcomed me into the Church – just what I needed at the time!
Although I felt unworthy and unsure at the daunting prospect of becoming a follower of Jesus, Ann’s hug and well-chosen words made me feel affirmed, special, and hopeful. That day I didn’t need April Fool’s pranks to make me smile. Rather, Ann’s appropriate and timely gesture was exactly what I needed. Soon afterwards I began dating her daughter and later this month we’ll celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary!
Well, you might not be finding life-partners among those you meet today, but perhaps you can still make a difference through a timely act of encouragement or affirmation.
Jokes are fun, but there are other imaginative ways you can put a smile on someone’s face. It’s not so daft for a Jesus follower to stand alongside people, lightening their spirit in creative ways, and giving them hope.
Revd Tony Miles
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