Everybody loves a parade.
Part of our Fourth of July celebration yesterday included attending a local, small town Fourth of July parade. The star of this show, especially for us, was a young girl playing in a beginning youth orchestra including little kids with violins almost as big as they were. Our young friend played a cello, and that was a bit of a challenge for a parade, calling on Dad to pull a wagon that she could set her instrument in. About every couple hundred feet of “marching” (they were actually just walking along), they would stop, put their cellos and bases on the ground and play one verse of “My Country ’Tis of Thee.”
What is it about these small town parades that is so compelling? There were hundreds of people lining the parade route on Main Street, and huge traffic jams in and out of town for a funky little parade that didn’t have one band (not with school out), had only three horses, and mostly people walking along representing various groups such as Vegans, the Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts, a color guard, a group of veterans, a couple motorcycle clubs, two fire trucks, a half a dozen Ford Mustangs revving their engines and a few town officials. What’s the big deal?
Well it’s simple. The big deal is us. For a moment in time, whoever wants to be a star, is one. We, and our children, and our friends are on parade. After watching most of the parade go by, we walked alongside the youth orchestra and cheered wildly every time they completed their song. The little five-year-olds were overcome with pride.
In 2 Corinthians 2:14, Paul teaches us that you and I are on parade like this all the time. “But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere.” “Christ’s triumphal procession” is the parade you and I are in today. You are on display, and this parade is going on all the time, even when you are unaware of it. That’s because the whole point of this parade is to spread around the fragrance of the knowledge of Christ everywhere we go.
This fragrance does not take effort, nor is it something we put on. We have it already, and it’s growing in us. It is the knowledge of Christ. We’re not memorizing anything; we’re not reciting anything; we’re simply being who we are, and the presence of Christ in us puts off an aroma in this parade we call life. God does the rest.
So whether you know it or not, or whether you like it or not, you’re in a parade today. Might as well go along with it. Enjoy it, in fact, because everybody loves a parade.