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Valentine’s Day and Ash Wednesday: April Fools and Easter - two rather unusual clashes of dates which may seem a little unfortunate.
Marking the beginning of Lent, on 14th February, Ash Wednesday fell on Valentine’s Day; and Lent ends at Easter, which this year falls on April Fools’ Day. I discovered this collision of dates hasn’t happened since 1945!
What, if anything, are we to make of this important, solemn season of the church year, Lent, beginning with Valentine’s and ending with April Fools’ Day?
Ash Wednesday is associated with solemnity, examining our lives, confessing our wrongs, and wearing an ash cross on our foreheads as a visible reminder of our mortality. But, it’s also about love… Lent provides the opportunity to renew our relationships with God - relationships which are only possible because God loves us.
We wear a cross on our foreheads - the cross is the ultimate symbol of love; Christians believe Jesus died on the cross because he loves all of creation. There is no clash between Valentine’s Day and Ash Wednesday, they’re both about love.
There’s also no clash between Easter and April Fools. Easter is the supreme day of celebration for Christians as we rejoice that God raised Jesus from the dead, offering such incredible hope. It’s a day for songs, dancing, feasting, having fun, making merry. In a letter to the church in Corinth, St Paul wrote, “We are fools for Christ’s sake”, meaning the world may think people foolish for following Jesus.
On Easter Day, as we rejoice in the resurrection of Jesus, may we indeed be ‘Fools for Christ’ - perhaps you’d like to join us.