Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Parade

This past Monday was Memorial Day. As we do just about every Memorial Day, we attended the parade in which two of our children, Nathaniel and Joanna were marching—Nathaniel playing snare drum in the high school marching band and Joanna marching with the color guard. At one point, you could hear people starting to say, “They’re coming” or “The parade is on its way.” How did they know? Even before they could see any sign of the parade, they had begun to hear the beat of the drums. And, then sure enough the parade turned the corner—the police in full uniform, the band playing patriotic tunes, the civic organizations represented, all to the cheers of the people.

It all made me think back to a less then pleasant childhood memory of a Memorial Day parade in the town where I grew up. Again, long before the parade actually appeared I could hear the parade coming. But rather than get excited, I found myself getting nervous, even terrified. Why? Because I knew that each year in the parade there were some guys dressed as Native Americans whose job it was to scare the living daylights out of the little kids along the parade route—not very “politically correct” today nor very nice by any standards. Actually, I think most of the other kids laughed it off as part of the entertainment. But, I distinctly remember one year running home out of fear at the mere sight of the guys in full headdress, painted faces, swinging their “tomahawks.” That is not one of my most pleasant Memorial Day memories.

I’m reminded of the fact that every day our lives are “on parade.” As we live our lives, we are very much on display. Often people can sense that we are coming even before we actually arrive. And, once we arrive they are either glad to see us or possibly experience some other kind of emotion—fear? confusion? disdain? People see us and take note of how we live and are either attracted towards us or they may want to run from us. And, some of the negative impressions are not always based on the fact that we preach a gospel that they have rejected. Many times it’s simply a result of how we live our lives.

Jesus said, “…let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16-NIV) Peter wrote, “Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.” (1 Peter 2:12 –NIV)

Our lives as followers of Jesus are on display. Thus, we have the potential to either attract people to him or turn them off from him. Our lives can lead some into relationship with him or possibly send some running away. Much depends on how we live.

As followers of Jesus, let’s live our lives in such a way that when people know we are coming they welcome us rather than run from us. And, hopefully and prayerfully many will be led to the One who is the true Light who shines through us.

Have a great day!

-Pastor Tim Harris

No comments:

Post a Comment