Thursday, March 29, 2018

Palm Sunday Procession for Peace, Des Moines, March 25, 2018

By Christine Sheller
(Pictures will be coming!)

The annual Palm Sunday Procession for Peace (in Des Moines), and the Prayer Service for Peace which coincides with it happened again this year, and it was a wonderful time! 
Walkers marched from Westminster Presbyterian Church in Beaverdale (Des Moines) to the Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Beaverdale.  It was about a 20 minute walk.  This year we were led by two adorable donkeys.  People adorned the street by holding signs speaking for peace and by holding palm branches.  The walk began around 3 pm, and the prayer service began at 3:30 pm approximately, at the Holy Trinity Catholic Church.

The service was nicely planned, with several hymns, a litany (call to worship), and welcomes and prayers.  The focus was on immigration.  The scripture reading was from Matthew 22: 34-40, about the greatest commandment that the Pharisees wanted Jesus to name.  This is where we get the “Love your neighbor” commandment.  He answered, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might.”  Then he said, “The second is like it, Love your neighbor as yourself.”  The message was based on this passage. 

Alejandro Alfaro-Santiz gave the message, entitled “Who do you think is your neighbor?”.  He is the co-pastor at Trinity Las Americas United Methodist Church.  He had some points that were very poignant.  He talked about challenging us to think about our neighbors differently- that we need to interact and have conversations with people of different persuasions as us on issues like immigration.  Our neighbor that we should love might really be next door.  He discouraged us from only focusing on immigrants as neighbors, but he wanted us to focus on the neighbor down the street who doesn’t like immigrants.  He challenged us to have an interaction by the end of the week (maybe just a hi, or a smile), but by the end of April actually having a conversation with someone!
It was a very moving message, and challenged me.

We were also graced with a performance by Gateway Dance Theatre- they did interpretive movement to a song in Sanskrit - it was very beautiful.

Thank you to the Des Moines Faith Committee for Peace for planning this event.  Thank you to the cosponsors!  Iowa Peace Network was a cosponsor, among about fifty-seven organizations, entities, and churches!  Thank you to the pastors at both Westminster Presbyterian Church and Holy Trinity Catholic Church, Senior Pastor Scott Paczhowski (Westminster) and Father Michael Amadeo (Holy Trinity). for hosting the various parts of the procession and prayer service.  Thank you also to the law enforcement who escorted us down Beaver Ave.

Christine Sheller is editor and coordinator at Iowa Peace Network. She is a graduate of Bethany Theological Seminary.