On Dec. 5, an event will be taking place in Melbourne that's not being done anywhere in or out of the U.S. to my knowledge.
Can there be such an event, and if so, who thought of it?
So glad you asked; because, a major point about this event is that it wasn't thought motivated, but, before I go on, let me ask you this: Do you believe that inspired visions can come to pass just like some dreams come true?
It's said that when someone has had these experiences and it doesn't come to pass then it was not divinely inspired, however, this event is professed to be as a result of a vision, that's in the 20th year right here in Melbourne.
Let me share with you the circumstance set up, that prepared a stage that later led to the vision and since you've chosen to read on, let me mention this: I'm the one that had the vision. Please read on.
Here's the set up: It was in December of 1989, while on route from Palm Bay, I was caught in a traffic jam as a result of a Christmas Parade going by. I recall watching all the people, floats and merriment. At a glance things looked right, but, as it continued my attention was brought to the absence of what I believed was "The Real Reason for The Christmas Season." Christ was nowhere in the Christmas Parade that I could see and it saddened me deeply. I remember saying to those with me, "Why don't the Christians do something about it?", and immediately conviction came to me that I was one of those that had done nothing. Wiping my tears and thoughts away we drove on home, shelving this "ouchee" in prayer was all I could do and there I left it.
A few weeks later while on an extended fast, I saw a vision. In that vision I saw a great big beautiful gold key, it was massive and it was glistening and as it began to roll out of front view, I saw behind it what seemed to be a huge brown black door, and as it came closer I saw it wasn't a door, it was a Bible and the key was poised so as to say at a glance Jesus Is The Key...That Unlocks The Word Of God...and immediately after I saw Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, and every book of the Bible seemed to open before my eyes, I saw that everyone was dressed as in biblical times, the characters that I had read about for years, and there was singing and dancing and everyone seemed so electrified, and I saw people on either side in present day attire, that watched as this peculiar weaving of one great number of people passed by, some looked happy, others were crying, it looked like they had seen for the first time, and as it seemed to come to an end, those that gathered to see it began to get up and follow the crowd, and the line kept going and going for so many joined in, and then, the vision closed.
I shared what I saw with those in ministry with me and after praying about, it all felt that it was exactly what God wanted us to do, but, there was just a few of us. Why didn't the Lord give that vision to someone who had the support of a large congregation; someone who had influence who could reason with other churches and ministries to join in for the cause of Christ in this public way? All know that we're to unite, but, 20 years ago leaders from one denominational church weren't often, if ever, invited to join the meetings at another denominational church. All, with few exceptions, stayed within their denominations or groups. What was I to do? How could this come together? Who would listen to me? A vision? Right!
Well, the best I had was to go tell them what I saw, a vision of unity, and how very much we needed to come together and that this was one event that could begin to facilitate our comon ground of faith in Jesus Christ before our community.
I was told that because I was a woman, the leaders would not listen to me, and that I needed to give what I had to a large church, and be willing to work with them to do it. In other words, doors weren't being flung open, but, the vision was real and there was a driving power that came with the vision to see it through.
I remember how grateful I was when I began to see ways to implement what I saw logisticly. In the vision it seemed like there were white shiney sails, as on a ship, that differenciated the books of the Bible as it moved on, like turning a page that had tabs on it. I drew what I saw and we began to buy as much white satin and gold lame' as we could afford to make banners with the names of the 66 books of the Bible. Three awesome women in our small group brought their sewing machines to my home. Day after day machines hummmed while others ironed on letters. Sheets of plywood were cut to make the Bible and the Key and pvc poles were capped by the few awesome men with us as all prayed that when we were done we'd find those who were willing to lay aside all differences to carry the story about Jesus to the city streets.
Knocking on doors didn't work. I just couldn't get in even when they opened the door. In prayer I felt that I had to start acting out my part in the play that was given me. We began to host complimentary pastor/leader luncheons to share the vision. We found that the hearts of the pastors were not cold at all, some just didn't see that this was more than a good idea or just a parade, that it was a vision that when carried out unites the church and casts a great evanglistic net. Many came, ate, listened and prayed about the call to unity and how we could do something together to bless our community. The event would be a gift from the participating church to Brevard County.
Some said it couldn't be done, others said it would take years to get it together, but, "Not by might, nor by human power, but by the Spirit of the Lord", in 1990 "The First Christian Christmas Procession" aka "The Bible On Parade" was birthed as a result of that vision. Forty five churches and ministries came together to lift Jesus and His story up in a huge cantada that takes spectators back to Bible times.
As in the vision, everyone is invited to follow the parade back for a celebration with free hot dogs, cake and drinks and every child gets a gift from Jesus at, "The Bible On Parade", after all, it's His birthday that we celebrate at Christmas time. It's become our way of saying,
"Merry Christmas Brevard."
Beloved reader, "The Bible On Parade" has become a historic event that starts and returns to The Melbourne Auditorium. News of its uniqueness is reaching the world on the Web. It's a great way to kick off the Christmas season, giving Jesus, the greatest gift of all. Dec. 5 at 2 p.m. marks the 20th celebratory year.
For more information and a slideshow of last year's event, please visit www.thebibleonparade.org or call (321) 773-1489.
Servant Pastor Janna Hogan, Facilitator
Jesus Is The Key Church/Ministries