Immanuel Lutheran Church


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Kalamazoo, MI 49006

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Missouri Synod

Everyone Loves A Parade

February 28, 2018

Trope: on the interwebs really refers to an often overused plot device. It can also be described as another variation on the same theme. TV shows, movies, comics, games, anime', & books are full of tropes & many rabid fan-sites now name and track said tropes with a self-explanatory title for each one.


An example: in several James Bond movies, Bond has some sort of cat and mouse chase set in a Mardi Gras parade. This allows for a colorful and exciting chase with upbeat dance music and colorful (and minimally dressed) dancers.


Actually, there are several famous trope-parades used in movies. One of the most obscure parades is the Von Steuben Day parade in Chicago featured in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Also in Chicago, The Fugitive used the St. Patrick’s Day parade. There are many more but I think Mardi Gras is the most and best used.


(If you are ready, the Mardi Gras parade season kicks in Saturday, January the 27th and continues until Fat Tuesday on February 13th.)


My favorite parade is from the 2015 Bond film Spectre. It opened with a parade in Mexico City for the annual “Day of the Dead” (Día de Muertos) celebration. This celebration (like our Halloween) is an adaptation of a pre-Christian tradition synthesized into All Saint’s Eve/Day. It has a very distinctive style with bright colored flowers and figures and masks of skeletons. The parade scene in Spectre was indeed great fun and great cinema. The only problem is that no such parade ever existed in Mexico City. The celebration is traditionally a quiet one held by families at the cemeteries of their buried loved ones. The movie needed a parade set in Mexico City and so they invented one! But guess what happened?  (Think “profit”.)



On Sunday, October 30th, 2016 Mexico City hosted its first annual “traditional” Day of the Dead parade “complete with floats, giant skeleton marionettes and more than 1,000 actors, dancers and acrobats in costumes.” The mayor decided to encourage tourism by hosting a parade after his office was inundated with requests by foreigners for the time and route of the “annual” parade (like the one in the movie.) For the sake of giving people a parade (and generating tourism income) fiction was turned into reality!


Would it be a surprise to know that a formerly religious holiday could get transformed into a secular party?


I’ll let Wikipedia summarize what we are talking about:


Mardi Gras, also called Shrove Tuesday, or Fat Tuesday, in English, refers to events of the Carnival celebrations, beginning on or after the Christian feasts of the Epiphany (Three Kings Day) and culminating on the day before Ash Wednesday. Mardi Gras is French for "Fat Tuesday", reflecting the practice of the last night of eating richer, fatty foods before the ritual fasting of the Lenten season.


What makes me laugh is that the season of Epiphany is typically six weeks; the same as Lent. So we spend just about the same amount of time partying and feasting as we do in penitence and fasting! Our human nature seems to like rules but we always manage to bend the rules in our favor. I promise you that Meijer will still be selling Pączki well into Lent…


There are two parades in the Bible that come to mind. The first is the day that King David brings the Ark of the Covenant up to Jerusalem and “danced before the Lord with all his might.”



The second is when Jesus entered Jerusalem and was celebrated as the “Son of David.”  We call that parade The Procession of Palms. It is the parade of joy at the fulfillment of God’s promise in the Messiah.


The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them. They brought the donkey and the colt and put on them their cloaks, and he sat on them. Most of the crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. And the crowds that went before him and that followed him were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” And when he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred up, saying, “Who is this?” And the crowds said, “This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth of Galilee.” (Matthew 21:1-11)


A Blessed Epiphany, Fat Tuesday, Ash Wednesday and Lenten journey…


Pastor Sidwell

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