Just as in a parade, we all are tempted to follow a leader. Whether we choose the newest fashion, political pundit, or religious doctrine, we tend to be swayed by the newest and most popular. As Christians, however, we are to pursue Christ, the only leader worth following. Our pursuit of Him is paramount in our spiritual growth and fruitfulness.
ETERNAL PERSPECTIVES by Sally Bair
Parades come in all shapes and sizes. Memorial Day and Fourth of July parades are popular in our country, with their combination of pomp and party-like atmosphere. And if a person can't attend one or be in one, there's always the New Year's Day Rose Bowl parade to watch on television. Large, holiday parades are always spectacular in their colorful variety. Small-town parades, though less elaborate, nevertheless elicit feelings of pride and joy among those watching. Kids and adults alike wave flags or other banners, shouting and praising the clowns, the drum majorettes, and the ornate floats.
We enjoy parades of a different kind, too—a string of ducklings quietly following their mama with papa tagging behind, a trail of ants carrying food or nest material back to their home, a family of youngsters dressed in their Sunday best walking up a church aisle behind their parents. They all bring a smile to our lips. Yes, everybody loves a parade.
When Jesus entered Jerusalem during the Passover festival, the people formed an impromptu parade. Unlike other parades, Jesus was the only participant. But many spectators followed him along the road, praising God in loud voices for all the miracles they'd seen him perform. They shouted, "Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!" "Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!" (Luke 19:38)
These people truly worshiped Jesus during his entry into the city. They even spread their cloaks on the dusty road for him. They treated him like an earthly king, waving their palm branches like soldiers who wave their country’s banner in honor of their ruler.
What a parade that must have been! But when the atmosphere changed, close to the time of Jesus' death on the cross, he didn't seem like a king any more. Already reviled by the Jewish leaders, He now became unpopular to many of His previous followers, those who earlier had paid Him great homage. In fear they scattered to safer places.
How do we treat Jesus? Do we sing joyful praises to him while sitting in church, then scatter to our safe environments where we don't think about Him until the next Sunday? Does life go back to normal after the Sunday parade, when flags and banners of worship are dropped or stored away? True followers of Christ, however, need never drop their banners. Indeed, we must not. Jesus is worthy of all the banner-waving and shouting and praising we can give—and much more.
Lord, may every day be a spiritual parade wherein we follow You with joy and exaltation. In Jesus' name, amen.