Some of you may or may not know about this event going on in downtown Calgary Sunday afternoon. No, it’s not a specific Father’s Day event. It’s an event called the March for Jesus. It is expected over 1,000 Christians will be taking part in this event. They will be wearing T-shirts, providing food, and live music. They will be walking from Millennium Park to Olympic Plaza along 8th Avenue. They have 9,642 likes on Facebook so the idea clearly has caught on for many Christians.
As a Christian, I’ve seen this event. I’ve seen what goes on. I thought I would write an Open Letter to the March for Jesus as they prepare to go.
An Open Letter from a Christian to the March for Jesus.
Dear March for Jesus.
I have been around the Christian scene for a long time.I’ve participated in youth groups, young adult groups and several other “revival” like events.
I’ve heard the messages. The encouragements. The challenge.The Bible verses. The questions if I’m ashamed of Jesus. And the reminder that if I am, then He’s ashamed of me. The call to share the Good News. I’ve heard several times why we can’t cheer for Jesus as much as we cheer for our local sports team.Because He deserves it.
Looking back, there was a part of me that got caught up in it. There was another part that this didn’t sit right with me.
Of course as a Christian, my desire is to honour Christ the best that I can. And of course, as a Christian I’m not ashamed of Jesus. I am also not ashamed of the good news that is the Gospel. But, I must admit honestly, as a Christian, I’m actually really ashamed of this.
Let me tell you of my experience in 2011. I thought it would be interesting to tell this story. The story of what this March for Jesus is. The story of this Jesus you wish to share.
From the moment I stepped in, I have to tell you that my heart hit the pit of my stomach.
There was lots of red t-shirts . T-shirts reminding people that Jesus is returning. T-shirts reminding us to repent. Reminding us that Jesus is the only way to Heaven. There was flags, microphones, dancers. There were signs to remind us that Jesus is King. There was Gospel tracts to give out. Tracts that were given and immediately thrown away. Or left on a car. There was hamburgers, hotdogs, and music. Music praising Jesus. There was even advertising on “Gods plan for marriage” Anything possible to ensure that the name of Jesus was spoken.
Except well, it felt like… Jesus.
I took some time to actually ask people what they thought of this. The people I talked too weren’t really aware it’s a March for Jesus. Some thought it was a March for Pride parade. Others a protest. Others were reminded of Westboro Baptist. I don’t think this was what you are trying to display
The city of Calgary is full of concerned Christians. Some of you that will attend this event. Concerned about real issues in the city. The homeless. The poverty. Their colleagues. Their family. They have developed a reasonable amount of respect within their community. They may have been their for families and friends in times of trouble. They may have sincerely listened to questions and concerns. Some may have been told that they act like Jesus. Even if they don’t agree with Christianity, there was a sense of respect developed.
People know the story of Jesus. They are familiar with who Jesus is. They know the story of how He died and rose again. They also know stories of His healing’s and His miracles. They also know of His teachings. The ones about loving your neighbours, your enemies, do good to each other. The reminder of “Judge not lest you be judged.”
They also know about the stories how He spent time with sinners and confronted the religious. Some may see this as the religious confronting the sinners.
For some people seeing events like this or things they may see on TV ask why would I want to become a Christian. Or for some of us, admit they are one at all.
But we do. Many of us for different reasons. Mainly because we do love and want to share the good news that we know. Not with threatening t-shirts, loud music, or flags. But with a sincere heart, a listening hear and with no fanfare at all.
So today as you go out and March for Jesus, I ask you just to take a moment to stop. Take a moment and look around. Please see the impact you are making. Have real conversations with people. Put down your loudspeaker, your flag, your gospel tract and really really listen.
This world needs more real people willing to listen and willing to care. Not a parade reminding them that their faith is better than everyone else’s.