Parades and Prayers

There was a parade in New York yesterday, and it made me want to exclaim a prayer of “Thanks” and “Rejoice”...

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Posted in , Nov 12, 2013

Guideposts staffer and Iraq war veteran Allison Churchill

I love a parade. I grew up in parade-loving Pasadena, was born two days before the Rose Parade and never missed one of those parades until I moved away as a young adult.

Dad was a lifelong volunteer for that parade and the whole family rode in flower-decorated cars down the parade route when he was in charge of those white-suited New Year’s Day volunteers. Parades and prayers. Dad picked the theme that year, “Rejoice,” and said prayers the whole way down Colorado Boulevard, mouthing the words, “Rejoice” to the crowds (who probably wondered who he was and who we were).

There was a parade in New York yesterday, and one of our own staffers was in it: Allison Churchill, a veteran of the Iraq war and an enthusiastic participant in this Veterans Day parade. Our Guideposts offices used to be close to the parade route on Fifth Avenue, but now that we’re downtown, we didn’t get to hear the drums rumbling and the bands playing or see the veterans, young and old, marching with their peers, waving flags, celebrating their service to the country, letting us say thanks.

But Allison sent me a photo of her heading out to the parade and it made me want to exclaim a prayer of “Thanks” and one of “Rejoice,” the way Dad would have. Thanks, Allison, for doing what you did and coming back safe and sound and supporting your colleagues the way you support us. It’s great to have a recent veteran from the office marching in the parade. For that I rejoice.

Also, thanks, Lord, for being with all those veterans who are coming back from the wars, who have come back from overseas and are dealing with civilian life anew. We’re doing a series in the magazine in 2014 about those good people, “Our Returning Troops,” our way of expressing appreciation and making ourselves aware, as we make our readers aware, of what challenges they face. For some of them who were wounded or are suffering from PTSD or Traumatic Brain Injury, the challenges are big indeed.

We rejoice in God’s presence in their lives and offer them a huge welcome home. Not every day is a parade, not all of life is a parade, but on a parade day, like yesterday, we can come together in person, or online, with drum rolls, flags, marching bands and songs of rejoicing. “They see your procession, O God, your procession into the sanctuary, my God and my King” (Psalm 68:24). Parades and prayers go hand-in-hand.

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