GRAB YOUR BACKPACK AND MARCH FOR JESUS!
I had become increasingly aware of the upcoming Vancouver March for Jesus all week, as the radio station I listened to in my car played reminders of it. To be sure, these March for Jesus events were not new. They had taken place in spring for years but I’d never been a part of one. It was just too big of a deal, I’d always told myself, to track down the information, brave Vancouver traffic, figure out the march route, then hunt for a parking spot on already crowded streets and, finally, begin walking with a crowd of strangers, all the while keeping a couple of youngsters from wilting for want of food and water.
This year, though, instead of in Vancouver, the March for Jesus was to be in Surrey, the suburb in which I lived. The kids, at 13 and 16, were definitely old enough to keep their hats on and carry their own water. And just this morning, the day before the march was to happen, any excuse I still had was eliminated when, while doing morning errands, I’d heard a radio interview which answered every one of my remaining questions. The march was scheduled to start at 10:30 the next day, begin at the King George Skytrain Station and parking was for free in the lot of the church we attended.
This would probably be a good thing for our family to do - openly and unashamedly identify ourselves with Jesus and the greater Christian community of our area - I mused, as I drove toward the supermarket to do my shopping. Spur of the moment, I detoured to Bun’s Master Bakery and loaded up with Portuguese buns. Then a few minutes later at the supermarket, I added sandwich meat and candy bars to my cart. Now just in case we decided to go, I’d have the makings of a delicious lunch. Back at home, I pushed through my biggest chunk of typing in order to be free Saturday morning.
Friday night was a late night for all of us, though, and Saturday morning, no one but I was up early. Finally at 8:30 my husband came down for his first coffee. “What are your plans for the day?” I asked him. He listed them off. Though I had slipped in a mention of the March for Jesus during Friday dinner, it wasn’t on his list.
But the thought of joining that march wouldn’t go away. Maybe the kids would want to come with me. I decided to try my 16-year-old daughter first as she’d expressed an interest in going earlier in the week. I gave her till 9:30, then popped my head into her room. She was still yawny, but awake. When I asked her if she wanted to come with me though, she said she was sure she wouldn’t have time to get ready (hers is a complicated and lengthy toilette with a thick mane of hair to dry and a mask of makeup to be expertly and precisely applied). “It’s too bad our youth group didn’t organize something,” she said. “It’s the kind of thing that would be fun to do with your friends, not just your family.” I agreed. But, sadly, no such arrangements had been made.
Discouraged, I figured there wasn’t even any point in trying to get my 13-year-old son to come with me, considering his carved-in-stone Saturday morning TV routine, and then the vacuuming which he had to get done before 3:00 to earn a little pay. It seemed no one in the family had my vision and as I wandered down the stairs, I felt my resolve begin to wane. I wasn’t prepared to go all by myself, and I did have lots of things to keep me busy at home. We’d just have to be better organized next year.
However, the thought of filling my morning with home responsibilities on this day made me feel strangely empty As the clock ticked toward 10, I wandered around the house feeling restless, disappointed and let down. Or was I giving up too easily?
At 10 o’clock I decided give it one last shot and broach the subject head-on with my husband. “I really did want us to be a part of the March for Jesus this year,”I said to him.
“It’s this morning, isn’t it? I frankly forgot all about it.” He paused, thought for a minute and then, “Maybe we should just make it a priority.”
That’s all it took. A few minutes of discussion settled the matter. Our 16-year-old asked for 20 minutes to get ready and our son ducked cooperatively into the shower. I felt strangely elated as, by 10:25 we were heading out the door. I hadn’t made the lunch I’d planned but the Eat-More bars and bottles of water were safely tucked in my backpack. The kids wouldn’t have friends to march with, we’d probably be late, but we’d be there!
We pulled into our church parking lot at the same time as the “Vissermobile” - the van of one of the families that attended school with our children.
“Ida’s here!” exclaimed my daughter.
“And Auke!” shouted our son.
A few minutes later we were on the shuttle bus from the parking lot to the start point of the march. The sun was shining, beside each of the kids was a friend and we’d all be marching for Jesus!
“They could hardly contain themselves:
They were in the right place!
They had arrived at the right time!”
(The reaction of the wise men on finding Jesus
Matthew 2, The Message)
Copyright © 2003 by Violet Nesdoly
(Adapted from a journal entry - May 1999)
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