Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Palm Sunday Peace Parade: a Life-Changing Experience!

Little did I know when I went to the Palm Sunday Peace Parade in Pasadena five years ago I would meet Jill Shook and my life would never be the same. Three weeks after we met, I proposed. She said "Yes"  and five months later she and I were married. During our wedding ceremony, we affirmed, and we are still convinced, that "the Prince of Peace brought us together for a purpose greater than either of us can imagine."

Jill and I also joked about our encounter with Bert Newton, founder and organizer of the Palm Sunday Peace Parade. We invited him to take part in our wedding since it would never have occurred without him. We also told him he could use us to advertise this annual Palm Sunday event:

 "Maybe you should let singles know that this parade can be a great place to hook up, and meet someone special...."

I am excited that this year's Peace Parade will focus on Immigrants and Refugees. As the child of an undocumented Greek immigrant, I feel the pain of those who are fleeing the violence in their homelands and seek a safe haven here in the USA. I feel we have a moral responsibility to welcome them since the violence in the Middle East and Central America has been caused in great part by our benighted foreign policies. We also have a biblical mandate to welcome them since we are told by God 34 times: "Treat the foreigners among you like your native born, for your ancestors were once foreigners."

This family-friendly peace witness and public worship event begins at 3:00 pm with a short sending ceremony at Reformation Church (see below) and proceeds to the intersection of Garfield and Colorado for music and brief words of wisdom and inspiration. Participants are encouraged to wear life vests, carry posters, and bring children’s wagons made up to look like boats. Children can ride in the wagon-boats along the parade route, carrying banners and stories of refugees throughout history—including Jesus, who, decades before riding into Jerusalem, found refuge in Egypt from the terror of a tyrant.

Hope to see you there, waving palm branches and peace signs!

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