OVER THE PAST 13 YEARS there have been around 180 nations where Christians have come onto the streets and marched for Jesus. This means between 10 and 11 million believers together have, in one 24-hour event, expressed their love for God.
Often these celebrations have been accompanied by distributions of clothes, food and acts of repentance and reconciliation, and in some cases kings, presidents and Prime ministers have participated. Often God’s presence is reported by stories of the miraculous. Always prayer is included for governments, peace and the disadvantaged.
On 10th June 2000, after 14 years of March for Jesus, we pray that “Jesus Day” will bring this movement to a climax. It would be a great way to enter the 3rd millennium and so celebrate Jesus’ 2,000th Birthday.
Marches, processions and open-air celebrations have been regular means of worshipping God throughout the Bible period as well as through Church history.
In Ex 138 (also Josh 114 and 412) the people of Israel marched out of Egypt and into the promised land in orderly array, in fact it seems by the word used there “in five abreast”. Three times a year Israel would meet each other on the road “up to Zion”.
Church processionals and beating the parish bounds are traditional expressions of marching together for God. Whereas the Salvation Army and accounts of revival spreading as believers march from village to village bring the story up to the 19th and 20th Centuries.
Growing from such expressions in the Ichthus Christian Fellowship in the 70’s and 80’s, in 1987 Gerald Coates, Lynn Green, Roger Forster and, of course, Graham Kendrick, who was already writing “Make Way” street worship music, called for a march around the city of London.
15,000 Christians from most denominations responded and prayed over many areas of concern represented by the city and its buildings and history. So, this current phase of worship marching began.
March for Jesus gives opportunity for basic Christian values to be expressed. Here are just seven.
First it is PRAYER & PRAISE not protest. Then it says Jesus belongs to the streets where he lived, died and rose again, he is not to be hidden in sacred buildings, he BELONGS TO THE PEOPLE, so does his body the church. LOVE & UNITY of his church is enjoyed at grass roots level. There can hardly have been a denomination which remains unrepresented and, of course, every race, generation, economic condition, along with both males and females.
Of course like every obedience to God it is a WITNESS to our Lord and a visual aid that he is alive and well and so is his church.
A week or so after Mrs Thatcher had said publicly “Where is the church?” 55,000 Christians marched past Downing Street and delivered a letter saying that if the Prime Minister and her government cared for the poor, the disadvantaged and the stranger in our nation God would bless her and her government.
March for Jesus is very clearly a CELEBRATION. It is full of joyful singing and festive colours, flags, banners, balloons, children, the aged and infirm, wheelchairs, prams, dancers, musicians, singers; it anticipates the joy of heaven.
Finally, it is a PROPHETIC SYMBOL where we declare not only that “the earth is the Lords”, but we are stating that God is on the move just as he led the slave people of old out of Egypt into life, freedom and fulfilment he is now leading those who will join him to a better life and a better land and a better society for all and forever.
Join us on 10th June 2000 and begin the New Millennium with an assertion that the values of Jesus are the ones which make for hope for the future of a sad and pain afflicted world. So may we go boldly into the New Millennium for Jesus and the human race.