I love a parade. There is something extraordinary about folks lined up for a parade, together to express a shared purpose. There are the small town parades on the Fourth of July; the Labor Day parades that celebrate those whose labors are part of the economic engine; Charlotte’s Pride Parade is second only to New York’s; and, of course, there is the Saint Patrick’s Day Parade when everyone is Irish. There are colors, sounds, and people who make for a great experience, a great day.
We have parades in the church all the time as we process into the nave and chancel for worship, and then process out into the world to carry the Good News of Jesus where the need is so great. There are processions to the font at Baptisms, and processions when we celebrate eternal life at a funeral. There is pomp and circumstance, color, voices lifted, and music swelling. There is quiet movement when we are invited into times and places for peace, prayer, and contemplation.
One of the great processions or parades of the church comes on Palm Sunday, on the Sunday of the Passion. Gathering outside we hear of Jesus’ triumphal entry in Jerusalem, riding on as the people threw down the palms and shouted, Hosanna! Hosanna! We parade into the church and hear the great story again of that most holy of weeks. The story of Jesus’ Passion, his willing sacrifice for us is retold. The music, the words, the story, the Sacrament all invite us into Holy Week – leading us on to Good Friday and the Sunday of the Resurrection. Come and be a part of this parade that transforms.
–The Reverend L. Murdock Smith, Assisting Priest