FEAST OF FOOLS

One of my favourite Bruce Cockburn songs is entitled ‘Feast Of Fools’[1]. At first I thought it was a just a clever title for a song, but later discovered it was based on a holy day in the ‘Middle Ages’. It was the ancient equivalent of ‘opposite day’ and a wonderfully absurd picture of the difference between how we view power and the way God does.

Richard Foster says we could learn something about celebration from the Feast of Fools.

It was a time when all “sacred cows” of the day could be safely laughed at and mocked. Minor clerics mimicked and ridiculed their superiors. Political leaders were lampooned. We can do without the excessive debauchery that often accompanied those festivities, but we do need occasions when we laugh at ourselves.
Instead of chafing under the social customs of our day, we might do well to find ways to laugh at them. [2]

Are you still able to laugh or has the seriousness of life made you miserable? In difficult times you need a good sense of humour. If you lose your laugh, the darkness wins.

There is a time to celebrate and make light of our exaggerated sense of self-importance. A phrase in Bruce Cockburn’s song says:

It's Time For The Singers Of Songs Without Hope
To Take A Hard Look And Start From Scratch Again

We celebrate to remember what’s good. We also celebrate to forget the things that try to consume us. A good party, a belly laugh and the pleasure of simple things remind us that God gets a kick out the things that others find foolish. God may in fact have a rather twisted sense of humour.

Paul talked about the idea that God chooses (actually chooses) the foolish things of the world to confound the wise. God is not subservient to the wisdom of the world. He's more of a cut up in the classroom. God is the funny guy who lampoons those who think they are experts on life.
 

1 Corinthians 1:
26-31 Take a good look, friends, at who you were when you got called into this life. I don’t see many of “the brightest and the best” among you, not many influential, not many from high-society families. Isn’t it obvious that God deliberately chose men and women that the culture overlooks and exploits and abuses, chose these “nobodies” to expose the hollow pretensions of the “somebodies”? That makes it quite clear that none of you can get by with blowing your own horn before God.
Everything that we have—right thinking and right living, a clean slate and a fresh start—comes from God by way of Jesus Christ. That’s why we have the saying, “If you’re going to blow a horn, blow a trumpet for God.”


Celebration is not about losing control and indulging in destructive desires. The real party begins when we are humble and obedient. The burned out prodigal got cleaned up and likely had the biggest, tearful smile in the room. Talk about a surprise party—from the least deserving to the most celebrated. That is who we are in Christ.

Real celebration happens when we are thinking right, living right, have a clean slate and a fresh start. Jesus throws the best parties. His grateful guests strangely are invited to something that they have not qualified for.

If we are all fools and beggars here, then I propose a toast to the Host who invited us. The greatest spiritual environment of celebration is found in the Kingdom of God.

Let’s get this party started!






[1] Bruce Cockburn, ©1978 Bro N Sis Music Inc., Rotten Kiddies Music LLC
[2] Richard Foster, Celebration Of Discipline, p.200

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