ELKHART — Jesus did a number of things that some people would consider foolish, Wendell Wiebe-Powell said on Sunday.
He regularly interacted with the poor, the outcast and women — the types of folks that “respectable people” steered clear of, Wiebe-Powell said.
He healed people on the sabbath — couldn’t he have waited until the first day of the next work week? He entered Jerusalem on what is now known as Palm Sunday on a donkey, rather than covered in armor and riding a mighty steed as many of his followers probably would have preferred.
Wiebe-Powell, a member of Fellowship of Hope in Elkhart, spoke at the Civic Plaza on Sunday afternoon to participants of a Peace Parade that began at Hively Avenue Mennonite Church. It was the second annual Palm Sunday Peace Parade but because this year’s event fell on April Fools’ Day, it also was called a Parade of Fools.
Instead of leading a violent insurrection, Jesus broke the chains of death and helped people realize that “doing justice and love of God were one.”
Jesus also stirred the hornets’ nest of people in power, something the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. also did, Wiebe-Powell noted.
Several of King’s associates told him to back off and tone down his message when he was fighting the battle for civil rights in the 1960s, but King “said no to those who were advising him to cool it” because he knew that you have to stir the pot to find out its contents, Wiebe-Powell said.
In an interview with The Truth during the walk, Wiebe-Powell said he hopes the Peace Parade does create a stir in terms of shaking up Christians’ celebration of Palm Sunday a bit, to help them realize that speaking out against violence and warring between nations is something Jesus stood for as the Prince of Peace.
Another parade participant, Dave Janzen, said the United States has gotten itself into a situation in which it feels a need to react militarily throughout the world to safeguard its style and standard of living.
Janzen said that presidential candidates, among others, should be talking about the nation’s real needs and why it continues to spend so much more on the military than other countries.
People walking in the parade carried signs with messages such as “Diplomacy, not bombs,” “Bring our troops home,” “Love is stronger” and “One human family — love one another.”
Before the 50 or so participants dispersed from the plaza, guitarist Sam Yoder led them in singing “Let there be peace on earth,” “This little light of mine,” “Down by the riverside” and “Now go in peace.”