I do love a parade. I used to watch parades fairly often when I was a kid. I can remember many Stock Show parades when I was a kid in Fort Worth, Texas. I would be dressed in my little red cowgirl outfit and cowgirl hat. I was pretty rootin’ tootin’.
I remember another parade when Fort Worth declared it Alan Bean Day. And there he was riding in a convertible as the centerpiece, a real live astronaut.
Like most kids I watched quite a few Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parades, until I got a little old for giant helium balloons.
I went to a ticker tape parade in New York City that honored the United States Olympic teams in 1984. That was really exciting. I was there on a visit and we just happened to hear about the parade a day or so beforehand and decided to go. I actually got to meet the Men’s Olympic Volleyball Team when the parade came to a sudden and unexplained standstill with them right in front of us.
I’ve even walked in a few parades as a Girl Scout and as a Sweet Potato Queen.
But one of my all time favorite stories of a parade took place in about 1971 or 1972. It was close to Easter and our church’s Senior High Youth Group had gone to see a movie about the life of Jesus. It was one of the worst movies made on any topic. Oh come on, that bad? Oh yes. That bad.
It was titled “King of Kings”, but not any of the famous versions of “Kings of Kings”, this was kind of an off-brand. It was made in some foreign country and dubbed into English. In the scene portraying the slaughter of the innocents in Bethlehem after Jesus was born, they took the camera outside a wall, made a lot of noise, and threw plastic baby dolls into the air. I swear I am not making this up.
Our youth director slept through the whole movie. Snoring loudly.
We had no choice. There was nothing to do but laugh through the whole thing. When we finally got to the depiction of Palm Sunday suddenly the person sitting next to me burst out singing, “I love a parade!” (I’m remembering you, Laurie.) It brought the house down, not that there were more than 3 or 4 people in the theater besides our small youth group. I’ll never forget it. Well, I haven’t forgotten it in 45 years.
Matthew 21:10 portrayed that Palm Sunday parade this way, “When he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was in turmoil, asking, ‘Who is this?.” That line still makes me laugh.
Who is this, indeed? There were a lot of different answers at the time, and there still are today. People still want Jesus to be all kinds of things. They want him to overthrow the government and get rid of the oppressors so they can be in charge instead. They want him to pronounce them his disciples and bestow all the privileges that come with the rank. They want him to heal them. They want him to guarantee their salvation with no expectations.
Who is this? This is the King of Kings who rode into town on a donkey while people waved palm branches and less than a week later was hastily laid in a borrowed tomb.
But wait, there’s more…