Clown on a bike 

Yesterday it was the Fourth of July here in the U.S., a day where Americans celebrate the birth of the country, as the Declaration of Independence was signed on that day in 1776. Our family went to my grandma’s house and, for the first time ever, the small town parade that is usually down the street from her house, came right by her front door. We sat on the front lawn with extended family and watched the parade go by, it was awesome!!

Got me thinking, what are parades about anyway? Is there a God connection? I don’t know, but in writing this out, I hope to discover some gems…hope you join me…

Hmmm…well, even though today’s parades are civic, societal events, I’ll bet they originated with religious processions. We don’t see many of those around here in the U.S. (Mardi Gras and St Patrick’s Day parades are the exceptions that come to mind, but I’m not sure how religious these parades really are…), but I’ve seen video and pictures of other countries that still have Christian processions on certain holy days, or holidays. What I recall, is that they carry some image or items that represents the day or that the day is dedicated to, through the streets with lots of people either taking part in or observing the procession. Now I’m thinking of Palm Sunday, when Jesus processed into Jerusalem on a donkey and they hailed Him as king…bet processions were a common occurrence for kings too, makes sense…oh, and then there is the soldiers returning from home procession–those must be terrifically amazing for everyone.

So, maybe that means that their purpose is to honor the ones in it…they provide a public arena for important personages to be seen and to see the people they serve\represent. The people ‘on the top’ mingle (as it were) with the people ‘on the bottom’. There is a ranking of people inherent in parades…agree with me? You gotta ‘be’ somebody to be in a parade, they don’t let just anyone walk or ride along…you need ‘clearance’ to take part, which requires passing some sort of standard to say you’re important enough to parade through the streets.

So, under the New Covenant that Jesus ushered in through His death and resurrection, is there parading? A procession of the important ones? Nothing comes to mind, but what does come to mind is this verse: “Indeed there are those who are last who will be first, and first who will be last.” (Luke 13:30) The hierarchy is flipped, just like God, huh, to turn it all upside down. So, what does a heavenly parade look like? This is musing on my part…

The last are probably the parade marshalls, the first in line. Who are these people? Logically, from a worldly Christian perspective, it would seem they would be the prophets and the saints, people like Moses, Elijah, John the Baptist, the Pope, Mother Teresa, Joan of Arc…people who sacrificed all for God and love of fellow humankind. Next in line would be the next most holy ones, and finally we’d come to regular folk who claim Jesus as their Savior. Hmmm..but then I wonder again…seems topsy turvy to me for the most holy to be first…that would be a worldy perspective, wouldn\’t it…the best first and the least holy last. But God invariably turns things upside down, He can be so counterintuitive….

So, how about this? The regular folk are the parade marshalls, the first ones to process and then the middlin’ sorts stay in the middle and then the most holy ones at the end…for they are the servants of all, really the least in God’s Kingdom…servants rarely have status anywhere. Is your brain short-circuiting like mine? That means we’re probably right on, for God isn’t logical, He’s counterintuitive, He’s always pushing brain limits so that we have to sink to our hearts to understand it. If you’re still not with me, then think of an amazing parent you know, one who sacrifices time and again for his\her children…their children come first and they willingly and joyfully take the back seat, so that their child can shine, can grow and become….the parent is modeling servanthood and wouldn’t think of parading in front of their child. This is how the most holy are for those they don’t even know…they love greatly and, in doing so, put others first.

Well, who is the very last in the parade? The horse manure picker-upper, the one who looks before Him and proudly beams at all who go before? I’d say Jesus, how about you? Oh, and who is the audience, after all? Well, this is a no brainer, I say God and all His angels, watch and smile, ooo and ahhh…maybe even Satan and his minions are forced to look on…

Makes me wonder where I’d fit…yikes, time to move to the back of the line!


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