When I was in the fifth grade, I actually marched in a parade, fat little kid that I was, and played the snare drum. It was a rodeo parade. I can’t imagine it! If you know me, you know that I am the furthest possible from being a cowgirl. That’s why, I guess, I have tried to blot it out of my memory. I have no recollection of the snare drum before or since that parade, but I guess I was a member of our drum and bugle corp. It’s weird what kids will do!
Parades can be fun and exciting and spectacular. I usually watch a few minutes of the Rose Bowl Parade each year, but it is beyond me to sit on the sofa or stand on a street corner for hours and watch nine million beautiful floats passing by. Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade is amazing, but a dozen oversized cartoon balloons are enough to last me for a good while.
It’s the unusual, maybe “once in a lifetime” parade that I best remember.
At Christmas time, in Lodi, where I used to live, fire engines festooned with colored lights, holiday music blaring, drove down our residential streets tossing goodies to adults and children alike who gathered on the sidewalks to shout “Merry Christmas.” What a dazzling parade.
As a child, I remember seeing thousands of American Soldiers marching in triumph down New York’s Fifth Avenue, following the end of World War II. The confetti and ticker tape filled the air, as people welcomed them home. Now, that was a parade!
Of course, Easter processions or parades, often including special dress, have been part of Christian culture since earliest beginnings.
The Bible records two such processions during the first Holy Week. On what is now called Palm Sunday, Jesus, seated on a donkey, rode into Jerusalem as an adoring throng waved palm branches and shouted, “Hosanna…blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.”
On Friday, a few days later, this same Jesus, carrying his cross, led another parade up Calvary’s Mountain.
Authorities attribute the introduction of new Easter clothes and personal finery to the Roman Emperor, Constantine, who ordered his subjects to dress in their finest and parade in honor of Christ’s resurrection.
From 1870 through the 1950s, New York’s Easter Parade was the main cultural expression of Easter in our country. By the 1880s the Easter Parade had become a vast spectacle of fashion and religious observance. It was actually an after-church cultural event for the well-to-do. Decked out in new and fashionable clothing, they would stroll down Fifth Avenue from their own church to others to see the impressive decorations and to be seen by their fellow strollers. People from the poorer and middle classes would observe the parade to learn the latest trends in fashion. It was not unusual for a million or more people to turn out for this parade.
By the mid 20th century, the parade’s religious aspects had faded and it was mostly seen as a demonstration of American riches. What had begun in 1870 as a parade of refinement and religious display had become an ostentatious frolic.
Sadly, for most people today, Easter has little to do with Jesus Christ and His resurrection. The Easter Bunny and chocolate eggs have stolen the show.
I will never walk down Fifth Avenue on Easter Sunday dressed in my finest, but I will, once again one day, participate in a parade. It will be the parade to end all parades.
Revelation 19:11 – 16 speaks of this parade. John, the writer, tells us, “Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True. And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.”
One day, we don’t know when Jesus is coming back to this sad sinful world. He will be the Grand Marshall of the grandest parade. He will ascend from heaven on a white horse followed by the redeemed of all ages. Those, who have loved and served Him, will be dressed in fine white garments also riding upon white horses.
I would like to think this will take place on some future Easter Sunday, but regardless of the day, our KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS, the one who was born for us, died for us, and was resurrected for us, will once again take control of this world wiping out all evil setting up His Kingdom where He will rule and reign forever.
That’s what Easter is all about—our Resurrected Christ, faithful and True, coming again.
MAY YOUR EASTER BE BLESSED!
REMEMBER, THE SUN WILL COME OUT TOMORROW!