rev-joaquin-willis_web.jpgA “parade” is an oft-used metaphor for life. Parades, like life, have many parts:  honorees and celebrities, floats, bands, drum majors and spectators. God has called upon us to join His parade, and asks us to keep in step.

In Exodus (12:31-37), we find Israel beginning its parade to the Promised Land, with Pharaoh’s command to Moses, “Up! Leave my people, you and the Israelites! Go, worship the Lord as you have requested.”

The decision to join God’s parade then was a do-or-die decision that also required a prosperity attitude. In Exodus (11:2; 12:35, 36), Hebrews embarking for the Promised Land asked for and received gifts (plunder) of gold and silver from the Egyptians.  Moses dedicated his life to mold Hebrew slaves into a self-sufficient nation.

Psalm 119:105 says, “Let God’s word be a lamp unto our feet.”  We have a guide for every step we take. 

To “keep in step,” one must learn to let God rule, and to follow Christ, as drum major.  Isaiah 50:10-11 says “Let him who walks in the dark, who has no light, trust in the name of the Lord.”

Every day, God offers us treasures (plunder), and the gift of a victorious and constructive life.  Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 2:14-15 to, “Thank God, who leads us in ‘a triumphal procession in Christ’ who through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of Him; for we are to God, the aroma of Christ among those being saved, and those who are perishing.”

The triumphal processions of ancient Rome displayed the plunder and captives of Roman armies amidst clouds of incense burned in thanks to the gods—an aroma sweet to the victors but sickening to those enslaved or facing death.  Similarly, when the full gospel is preached, the good news is most fragrant to believers, but often repulsive to the confused and skeptical!

When fellow marchers rub shoulders with Christ daily,  His wisdom and knowledge rub off on them.  Contact with those who are evil serves only to contaminate us.     

Like those in a marching band, we must resist losing our step by looking back or envying the positions of others.  We must march to God’s tune, knowing that we cannot simply stop because our tuba (or cross) is too heavy!

If you have joined the parade, and march in time with Christ, all you need do is to keep stepping.  Stopping will bring an encounter with Satan, always ready to nip at one’s heels to bring disgrace, accusation or condemnation. Every day can be a blessing when we are led by our drum major, Christ. 

Through Isaiah (43:18), the Lord says, “Forget the former things, do not dwell on the past. See I am doing a new thing!”  Keep your eyes on the drum major and keep stepping.  Isaiah repeated the words of the Lord:  “I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland,” and “Let me be a guide unto your feet and be a lamp unto your path.”

Jeremiah (29:11) reminds us:  “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you, and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” 

It is time for you to get up, to take your parting gifts, and to “Keep Stepping!”

The Rev. Dr. R. Joaquin Willis is pastor of the Church of the Open Door at 6001 NW 8th Ave., Miami.  To contact the church, call 305-759-0373 or email the pastor at