I Love a Parade!

I’ve been thinking about our Palm Sunday parade all week. It was fun to do something a little bit different (starting worship with the palm procession from Collins Hall to the sanctuary). Because sometimes shaking things up even a little draws attention to the details of our story in a new way.

So I’ve been thinking about that parade… and other parades I’ve experienced. Like the time when I got to drive the converted city bus (it was turned into a mobile playground) in the 4th of July parade for the City of Everett, Washington. At the time I was employed as the “Special Events Coordinator” for the city – which meant that it was my job to manage community festivals, to coordinate parades, to arrange for all kinds of ceremonial occasions and civic celebrations.

On this particular parade day, the driver of the playground bus became suddenly ill, so it fell to me to fill in. I had only driven the bus once – at the training ground, where all there was to run over were flexible traffic cones. But still, I was young and undaunted by challenges (young and foolish, perhaps?), so I eagerly climbed aboard and headed off down the parade route.

At one point along the way the route took a sharp turn to the left. Unfortunately I had gotten caught up in the excitement and the fun of the day, and had forgotten that the bus was considerably larger and longer than my normal “ride” – a 1977 Toyota Corolla. I’ll never forget watching the eyes of the spectators growing wider and wider as I careened around the corner! It clearly became one of the defining moments, one of the greatest adrenaline rushes of the whole parade!

Thankfully I did slow down in time to avoid catastrophe. And the experience was yet another reminder of the need to pay attention to our changing circumstances. It makes a difference whether you are driving a compact car or a full-size city bus. The way we do our work – and the consequences it has – are affected by the resources we use and the context in which we are using them.

Not a bad reminder for me (and maybe for you) as I consider our common work of ministry. In some ways we may need to be ‘driving different vehicles’, as the context of our culture and the needs of our community has changed. Sometimes that will mean we need to slow down and use more caution; at other times it will behoove us to speed up and be little more bold.

Change is a constant. And the need to pay attention to it is a given.


PS … I did get through that parade without incident, though it was the last time they let me drive the bus out on the street!

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