Local Faith: The Easter parade

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by Michael Duncan

Pastor, Eminence Baptist Church

I sometimes forget how many years I’ve lived (a nice way of saying I sometimes forget how old I am).  Whenever my mind starts recalling old songs, I’m reminded.

As a child, I loved sitting in the living room listening to my mom’s records.  You remember records, don’t you?  They were round discs made of vinyl.  You placed a disc on a turntable, gently placed the stylus arm down onto the disc, and there was music—beautiful stereophonic music. 

I had my own records, but I preferred listening to mom’s.

It was from listening to those records that I learned about the Easter Parade.  This was not the one that Jesus was in.  This was the one made popular by Irving Berlin. Some of you who’ve lived as long as I have will recall that song.  As I recall the words, in my mind I can hear the sounds and see the images the sounds created.
In your Easter bonnet, with all the frills upon it,
You’ll be the grandest lady in the Easter parade.
I’ll be all in clover and when they look you over,
I’ll be the proudest fellow in the Easter parade.
On the avenue, Fifth Avenue, the photographers will snap us,
And you’ll find that you’re in the rotogravure.
Oh, I could write a sonnet about your Easter bonnet,
And of the girl I’m taking to the Easter parade.

Like good Berlin-followers, as Easter approached we made preparations for looking our best.  I never felt so grown up as I did that Easter I got my first white sports coat to wear with my new black polished cotton slacks.  I was parade-ready.

There is nothing wrong with dressing up for Easter and making Easter a celebration.  Hey, it commemorates a great day — the day when Jesus, crucified three days before, rose up from the dead and death received notice that life wins.  No, there is nothing wrong with dressing up and celebrating the wonder of the day.

Nothing wrong with celebrating except we can’t really celebrate until we march in the same parade in which Jesus marched — the one toward Jerusalem, toward the cross, and toward the tomb.

Would you like to be in the Easter Parade?  You will first need to be in the one that comes before it.  To train for the Easter parade, spend some time reading the 12th and 13th chapters of the Gospel of John and then jump to the 18th chapter.  You may find yourself where I often find myself—among those who either turned away from Jesus or turned against him.

Easter is discovering that He against whom we’ve turned never turns from us.