By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Stepping out for Jesus in the spirit of Pentecost
A scene from Saturday’s March for Jesus in Stockton. - photo by Photo by Pedro Levano
Last Saturday, a hundred happy people marched in Stockton for Jesus Christ.

Gathering early on March Lane, we began walking around 10 a.m.  The route zigzagged southbound along Pacific, Harding, Center, Market, San Joaquin, and Minor.  We ended with a small rally of praise and worship near City Hall in Martin Luther King Plaza.    Anticipating the feast of Pentecost (Sunday the 31st), the humble crowd prayed for the anointing of our cities.

The purpose of the March for Jesus was to offer an opportunity for Christians from a variety of local churches to express their love for Jesus and their desire to be united in him.  Those who participated also expressed publicly their conviction that Jesus Christ has the ultimate solution to our city’s many challenges.  With due respect for people of all religions, those who joined the March for Jesus shared their desire that all people experience the love and compassion of God the Father of Mercies in his Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.

A team of three area pastors (one Greek Orthodox, one a “Pentecostal” Baptist, and myself) joined the organizer Carole Lew in making this happen.

During the late ‘nineties, the March for Jesus grew in hundreds of cities to a huge public manifestation of the Christian conviction that Jesus should be on the top of our agenda for the new millennium.   The project was programmed to time out with the year 2000.  But this year, Carole sensed a calling to once again revive the March.   We joined her, because we believed that the name of Jesus needs to be lifted up in Stockton, and because she needed our help.

As we circled for the initial prayers, I was grateful to witness such a diverse collection of enthusiastic folks.  We represented a wide variety of fellowships from Elk Grove to Ripon, from Tracy to Escalon.   Among us were pastors from four different congregations.  Accompanied by children, balloons, little dogs and lots of marching music, we were overjoyed by the signs of support from the motorists and by-standers: thumbs up, positive honking, words of encouragement, and many other ways of saying, “We’re with you for Jesus!”

The following answers to “Why March for Jesus?” explained to those who got our final flyer why they, too, should join the March.  It was more than just good wholesome fun.   Small, invisible to the highly selective media, the March still accomplished its goal.   Jesus sent down a blessing on Stockton.

I hope we’ll see more Marches next year.  Maybe you can help this happen.

Why March for Jesus?    Some Simple Answers from the Organizers

1)  Why not?   Since the year 2009 began, we’ve seen all kinds of parades.

New Year’s Eve brought us, as always, major parades around the world, with thousands gathered to watch the ball drop in New York City, or a young man leaping high by motorcycle in Los Vegas.  Since then, in downtown Stockton alone, we’ve seen the Chinese/Vietnamese New Year parade, a procession for the Sikh community, the Asparagus Festival, the March for Immigration Reform, the Cinco de Mayo Parade, not to mention many other public events.

 Coming up will be a Fourth of July Parade and a large procession honoring Our Lady of Guadalupe, not to mention many outdoor gatherings for sports and entertainment.  People go public about what matters to them.   Why not go public for Jesus, who means everything to us who call upon his Name?

2)  Why not? He is King of King and Lord of Lords, Son of the Father and Image of the Invisible God, Bright Morning Star and Sun of Justice, Prince of Peace and Light of the World, Word made Flesh and Bread of Life, Good Shepherd and Lamb of God, our Savior and Redeemer, Alpha and Omega, the Way, the Truth and the Life, Head of the Church, and the Great “I AM.”

 3)   Why not?  Even for those who have not yet known or accepted Him, Jesus is the ultimate hope and the answer to every question.  He is Immanuel, God with us.   He says “Come unto me, all you who are weary, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).  For “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, so that whoever believes in him might not perish, but have eternal life.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him” (John 3:16-17). As Peter said on trial: “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

4)  Why not?  In order for Jesus to break down the strongholds of evil in our society, he must first break down the dividing walls between his followers.   During his Last Supper with his disciples, Jesus prayed that their “unity may be complete” (John 17:23).   He wasn’t just praying for his disciples!  “I pray also for all those who will believe in me through their word,” he said, “that all may be one, as you, Father, are in me, and I in you; I pray that they may be one in us, that the world may believe that you sent me” (John 17:20-21).  Let’s march May 30th to celebrate our oneness in the One who unites us all!
Fr. Dean McFalls,  St. Mary of the Assumption Church, Stockton.  Written June 5, 2009