A Musing on Parades 3/29/2023
I don’t know anyone who hasn’t been to a parade. And I actually know a lot of folks who have been in n parades.
Maybe it was a Fourth of July Parade full of Red, White, and Blue.
Maybe it was a Christmas parade with Santa as the final float.
Perhaps it was a Homecoming Parade with Marching Bands, football players on pickup truck beds, Cheerleaders throwing candy to spectators, and girls in fancy dresses sitting in convertibles.
Maybe it was a professional parade with choreography and stuff like you would find at Walt Disney World or the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade or the Grandaddy of Them All the Tournament of Roses Parade on New Year’s Day.
Maybe you have actually been in a parade. Perhaps you marched in the band or rode on a float or sat in the back of one of those convertibles waving to the crowds. Perhaps you marched as part of a group or an organization to celebrate or support a cause.
If you did, you had to prepare. Maybe you were responsible for getting the float together or securing a convertible. Maybe you had to find a costume or an outfit. Maybe you were in charge of getting everybody in the parade to line up in the correct order. Or maybe you were even further behind the scenes than that, securing permits to have the parade and ensuring the roads were closed so everyone could get through and enjoy the celebration.
Perhaps you have never been in a parade and have only been a spectator. Now you would think going to a parade would be an effortless thing to do. I mean, literally, all you’re doing is watching, but of course, nothing is ever that easy. This is, of course, compounded if you have children. Yes, even going to a parade requires preparation. You have to determine where you’re going to park. You need to get folding chairs together. After finding the chairs, you need to clean them off from where they have sat and accumulated dust and spiderwebs in the garage or basement. You need to get a cooler together with drinks and snacks. If it’s summertime, you need to get fans. If it’s wintertime, you need to be sure you have coats and hand-warmers. If a loved one is participating in the parade, you have to determine where you’re going to meet afterward. If you yourself are in the parade, you need to determine who is going to give you a ride back to the starting line in order to get your car and meet your family. If it’s a big parade, you need to determine how early you need to leave in order to get a decent seat.
Whether you are in the parade or a spectator, a lot of preparation occurs.
As followers of Jesus Christ, the season of Lent is a time to prepare for several parades. The first will occur this Sunday. The Sunday of Jesus' triumphant entry into Jerusalem - what we call Palm Sunday. Later in the week, another parade will occur on Good Friday. This parade will consist of three convicted criminals carrying their own crosses to their executions. One of whom is our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Two parades with two opposite feelings to them. Two parades, which the journey of Lent prepares us for.
As I considered this, I remembered this poem from Anne Weems regarding Lent that I would like to share with you in closing as we finish our preparation for the parades of Holy Week and the gamut of emotions they will bring. It also, however, reminds us of a third parade that we get to be in on Easter Morning and indeed every day of our lives as we go into the world proclaiming - Alleluia! Christ is Risen. He is risen, indeed!
by Ann Weems
Lent is a time to take time to let the power
of our faith story take hold of us,
a time to let the events get up
and walk around in us,
a time to intensify our living unto Christ,
a time to hover over the thoughts of our hearts,
a time to place our feet in the streets of
Jerusalem or to walk along the sea and
listen to his Word,
a time to touch his robe
and feel the healing surge through us,
a time to ponder and a time to wonder….
Lent is a time to allow
a fresh new taste of God!
Perhaps we’re afraid to have time to think,
for thoughts come unbidden.
Perhaps we’re afraid to face our future
knowing our past.
Give us courage, O God,
to hear your Word
and to read our living into it.
Give us the trust to know we’re forgiven
and give us the faith
to take up our lives and walk.