I Love a Parade!

parade.gifThere’s something about a parade that I haven’t been able to put my finger on until recently.  Last summer, my family and I joined our friends Bob and Claudia Beauprez in a parade in the city of Fountain, Colorado.  At the time, Bob was serving as a U.S. Representative.  Because of my affinity for Bob and the values he champions, I began to get to know and support other elected officials.  In the summertime, that means walking in parades!

Now I know that most of you picture a parade as a festive processional with floats, huge blimps, marching bands, and all sorts of other wonderful art forms.  I used to look at them that way too.  When I would take my family to see the 4th of July parade in downtown Philadelphia, we went for sheer entertainment value.

Now, I look at parades differently.One reason is because I’m in the parades, not watching them.  But the larger reason is that I am showing my complete support for another human being.  These men and women who venture into the political realm are often quite brave.  They will undergo incredible scrutiny and often public slander in the process of an election season.  By associating myself with these people, I too become the brunt of jokes and mockery from time to time.  But it’s okay.  It’s okay because I value the relationship and believe in the values that I share with my political friends.  The pain is worth the gain.

This summer, my family has already walked in three parades supporting wonderful candidates.  We’ve walked precincts to deliver their message.  I’ve repeated slogans through a bullhorn at campaign events.  I’ve engaged in passionate debate with their detractors.  But I love the parades most of all.  I love to watch the wide eyes of a child as I introduce him to the next governor of our state.  I see the admiration of adults as they interact with one of these community heroes.

This Saturday, we’ll walk in the final parade of our summer.  We’ll join some of our other friends like Rick O’Donnell running for the 7th Congressional District and Matt Knoedler running for a difficult state Senate spot.  We’ll smile and wave to the crowds, ignore the snide remarks, throw candy to the children, and…hopefully win an election or two or three.

I was reading about an incredible parade the other day–probably the most powerful in history.  The entire focus of the parade was on a single man.  Though tired and incredibly sore from a long overnight ordeal, he walked the entire route even though he faced immense opposition from the crowds.  He died later that day.  Many who had campaigned for him in his long journey came to the conclusion that he failed…he would never take his seat of authority that was seemingly destined for him.

They were wrong, so wrong.  Because at the moment that Jesus died on the cross, He went on to an even more spectacular procession.  Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, went to Hell.  He paraded in front of the demonic angels bound in chains until the Day of Judgment.  His message which resounded to every corner of Hell was triumphant and deafening to hear: IT IS FINISHED!

Oh, how I wish I could have been there!  What a parade!  What a sight!  To see the legions of Hell, most likely in pompous celebration over the Messiah’s death, lift their eyes and behold a King who just crushed the serpent’s head for all time–that would be unforgettable.

And Jesus did take His seat of authority–at the right hand of the throne of God.  He’s there now.  I can’t wait to see Him.

And, wonder of wonders, I still get to parade with Him.  Right here, right now.  I identify with my Savior each day as I follow His teachings.  I walk neighborhoods delivering His message.  I stand in pulpits and proclaim His slogans.  There’s no greater thrill than to see the wide eyes of a child that I get to introduce to Him for the first time.  By associating myself with Jesus Christ, I too bear the brunt of mockery and rejection.  But it’s okay.  The pain is worth the gain.

I’m resolved to take up my cross every day and follow Jesus in the greatest procession of all time, the path to Heaven.  Are you coming?

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