Tuesday, February 19, 2013

the parade

 hope my friends in Canada will forgive me if I am passing on an urban legend . .

I recently heard a story of how, in the mid-1950's, the leadership of the city of Toronto announced that its first-ever Easter Parade would be held at 10:00 a.m. on Easter Sunday. The people of Toronto showed up in full force at the appointed time on that day, and waited all morning. But no parade, nothing. They went home grumbling at what they could only assume was a massive hoax.

But they forgot. They forgot that an Easter parade is not something you watch, it is an event designed for you to be a participant. You are to dress up in your Easter best, link arms with your neighbor, and 'parade' through the center of town.

Jesus is leading a parade during this holy season. He moves from village to village, from group to group, from person to person. He has his face set towards Jerusalem, but along the way, a parade takes shape, parties break out, people rejoice. He will be welcomed into the homes of religious leaders, where he will challenge their easy faith, and he will invite himself to the tables of sinners, where he will embrace them as family. He will have no place to lay his head, and he will feed the thousands who are hungry. He will link one arm with a fellow who smells like a pig sty, and will hold out his hand to the prodigal's brother, hoping he will step off the porch and join the parade. He will tell stories that knock people off their assumptions and continue to answer, again and again, the same questions from the disciples.

And he will look.

He will look at us, standing there off to the side. Will we grumble and go home, because the parade is not what we expect? Will we simply stand there and observe, thinking that is all that is required of us? Will we be too worried about getting our faith finery dusty and stained by dragging it in the streets? Will we keep our arms folded tight across our chests, making sure that we come into no contact whatsoever with all those folks jostling our elbows, wanting to become part of the parade?

Will we forget that this parade is not something we watch, but something we do?

© 2013 Thom M. Shuman

'Lenten and Easter Nudges' is an e-book of Bible readings and short prayers
for Lent, available from www.ionabooks.com

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