A reflection by Reverend Michelle L. Knight

Who doesn’t like a parade?! Parades are fun for everyone whether you watch or participate! The Central District sponsored a Support Parade on Tuesday, May 12, 2020, for the Otterbein SeniorLife Community. Sadly, their residents and staff have been adversely impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. The parade was – in real time – to show our appreciation toward the daily heroes who provide amazing care to the residents and to encourage those who have been isolated from family and friends.

Well over two dozen vehicles which included golf carts, muscle cars, SUVs, vans, jeeps, a church bus, and an old Model T honked, waved, and drove around Otterbein’s campus.  I share my appreciation for Bishop Trimble, Conference Superintendent Aleze Fulbright, and Chaplain Reverend Owen for their presence and leadership.

For those of us who participated it was a joyful thing to “do” as an expression of love and support. In addition, participants’ hearts were gratified to be together in the action of showering others with love.

For those who witnessed our parade and read our signs; their smiles and enthusiastic waves reflected the joy received. We heard shouts of “hello”, “thank you”, and “God bless you.”

My teenage daughter took the morning off from her online learning as a “field trip.” She confessed to me that meeting all of her mother’s co-workers was worth it so that she could honk and wave. However, it was my daughter’s reflection about the parade’s larger significance that followed me home.

Her final thought as we pulled out of Otterbein’s driveway was, “Momma, I don’t get it. We should do this {parade of support} all the time. Why does it take a stupid virus to get us to do this… thank the nurses and give a parade for the residents?! That is just so dumb.”

Oh, the mind of a teen! Yes, there has been so much this pandemic and its repercussions have taught us about being the Body of Christ in such a time as this. To my teen’s remark, just maybe our learnings from this experience invite us to practice crazy, fun appreciation in every season.

As we seek to be a healthy Body of Christ and plan for our re-engagement of in-person worship and ministries, I pray Hoosier United Methodists will focus on the essential purpose of what we are about – offering love, appreciation, thankfulness, silliness, hope, encouragement, wonder, value of others, and joy. Moreover, this parade reminded me that when the invitation to be Church is clear and purposeful (i.e. shower others with love), disciples show up!