which parade?

[this is an excerpt from an article written by SSU alumnus, David Moore, printed in the Santa Barbara News-Press following a peaceful protest in the wake of the non-indictment after the Ferguson shooting]

Jesus occupied Jerusalem, and in his case, it meant occupying the Empire. On the Sunday before he was executed by the state, he led a peace march. His
procession countered another that happened annually on the other side of the city, on the same day, led by the Roman governor. Jesus rode a donkey. Pilate rode a horse.
This official’s objective was to prevent uprisings among the masses who traveled from many places for their festival.

Pilate’s procession, with hundreds of noisy boots, helmets, shields and swords clanging to ensure crowd control was an institution. Jesus’ procession was revolutionary, armed
only with truth. Later, Jesus told his followers, “This is my body, given for you,” while offering them bread, and “this is my blood, shed for you,” inaugurating the Eucharist, the
meal that Christians still share, commemorating his sacrifice. When we share this meal, and symbolically by extenuation, every meal, we remind ourselves that his was a given life. This life nourishes us with strength to resist forces that mistreat and dishearten us, armed with truth.

In the Eucharist anger becomes love. In every shared meal, I am energized to become involved in others’ struggles. The struggling are those who have most reason to be angry. They are the most nonthreatening and vulnerable members of our society if they discover what to do with their anger. Come to this table. Come, eat this bread and drink this wine. You will be revitalized.

My redeemer says, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they will be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted for justice’s sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

Powerless ones, lay down your meager arms; discover truth. Be angry about narratives, like much state-sanctioned education, and other propaganda. I include most traditional
media. Be angry over resignation to an emergent police state. Most of Tuesday night’s demonstrators found out about our demonstration via social media.

I am angry about the ongoing theft of Jesus’ lovely message by those who use it to reinforce power and make loud the voices of those who are not voiceless. They support the wrong procession, the wrong parade.

– David Moore, Jr., ThD, has served as pastor for New Covenant Church in Santa Barbara for 31 years.