What an amazing time in the Lord! You know how it says in the word that the natural mind cannot discern or understand the things of the Spirit? It’s true. And truly it is hard to put spiritual things into natural words. The March for Jesus was just like that. In the words of Jim Blake, "It was such a beautiful and spiritual event. It was unlike any other event I have ever attended in my life. Believe me, and I am not just saying that because I was one of the organizers of the event. The amount of work and energy we all contributed to the march would have taken the wind out of enjoying other events, but though it was naturally exhausting, it was spiritually invigorating."
Let us try to put it into words. The excitement in the Spirit began to happen just before people started to arrive at Millennium Park. The helium balloons were being filled by the volunteers from the different churches and you could sense, already, the unity in the Spirit. Even at that point, with the volunteers wearing their March for Jesus T-Shirts and the balloons just starting to be filled, you could see the colours of the march starting to appear and grow. We are not just talking about the T-Shirts, white and red, but about the diversity of backgrounds and nationalities. We would not be exaggerating to say that at least 30 different countries were represented at the march. They all came for one purpose, to lift the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth or as the Jewish believers refer to him, by His Hebrew name, Yeshua Ha-mashiach.
We had Japanese people, Chinese people, Spanish people, Guatemalan people, Philippino people, Polish people, African people, Native people, people from the United States, from Russia, from Columbia, Canadians and many more. We are sure you are getting the sense of the magnitude of this beautiful accomplishment, and all the glory and all the praise and all the honour belongs to God. All of our efforts would be in vain without His Spirit present.
For those of you who missed the event, what we will tell you next will attempt to fill you in on the details of this special celebration, and it truly was special.
Once the crowd gathered Artur Pawlowski got up on the Red Jesus Truck and started getting people excited about what was about to happen. He told them about the opening of the march and about our two special guests who where going to cut the symbolic ribbon (a white chain symbolizing the bondage that many in Calgary are under – literally it was to demonstrate that the March for Jesus was spiritually breaking the chains of bondage over our city). Alderman Ric McIver, together with the the Mayor from Truro, Nova Scotia, Bill Mills (who acted as our honorary mayor for the March for Jesus Event, and was white hatted just two days before, on the 18th of June 2010 by the Calgary Christian community for his exceptional stand for Judeo-Christian values while in office), each holding one side of a pair of bolt cutters, then one… two… three… cut the chain, which officially opened the March for Jesus in Canada. After around ten years of absence, by the grace of God, the March for Jesus began.
The Shofar blowers started with sounds indescribably beautiful and powerful, symbolizing and embodying victory and celebration. Then came the flaggers with their brilliantly coloured flags waving them as though the King of kings, Himself, was behind them being carried on His throne, with power and majesty that was so impacting. You could see them from blocks away. Then the crowds, column upon column, row upon row, like a victorious army, that just won a great battle, were running, skipping, shouting and rejoicing with their King, Jesus.
In the words of Artur Pawlowski, "As I was taking care of the sound equipment, in the back of the pickup truck and I looked upon the rows of people, that was blocks away, there is no way to express the joy that was in my heart and when I saw the different nationalities going crazy for Jesus, jumping, dancing, flagging, celebrating, having the best time of their lives, I was torn between two thoughts; keep on running the sound equipment, or jump in with them and go crazy for Jesus, myself. When I looked into the people’s faces and saw the expression of their bodies, their was overwhelming, pure, joy in my heart. Moments like these you will carry with you into eternity. For the first time in my Christian life, I felt that there were no denominations, no divisions, just this awesome unity, one Body, one Christ, one Kingdom."
There was camera men walking with us from the Christian media, recording the whole event, along with our own cameras. There were so many amazing moments that were being captured both on video and in still pictures. When we bring everything together, we will be releasing videos, pictures and testimonials to the website for all to enjoy and share with others.
We were so touched by the presence of the police officers, doing their best to assist and ensure that this event was a great success. Some volunteers told us that they talked to the officers and that some of them said that they were also Christians and that they were really glad to see this march happening again.
Marzena Pawlowski, from the back of the Jesus Truck, looked in amazement, since as far as her eye could see the street was lined with people worshipping God. She said, "There was such a freedom and joy. I will never forget this day for the rest of my life!"
There were some emotional moments during the march. We had four different stops along the march to pray and reverence the Lord to declare and boldly proclaim God over our city. Prayers were given by different representatives from the Christian community. Louis Formaz, on behalf of the younger generation, cried out for souls. Also, Daniel Howard declared the Kingship of Jesus in Calgary and in all of Canada. Artur Pawlowski prayed about many things but especially declaring blessings over the nations, that were in the crowd, and proclaiming Christ over them. Then the people in the crowd started yelling out different names of nations, "…and Columbia… and Elsalvador… etc" Then at another stop, Jim Blake got up and started speaking. We will let him explain in his own words what he felt.
"When I got up on the truck, I saw the crowd of people, caught up in the moment, waiting expectantly for another morsel of the Spirit. I put myself in my rightful place, as a servant of Christ, starting by exalting him and at the same time humbling myself. I gave glory to God and spent some time worshipping Him and lifting His name. I spoke of making a difference and about the need we all have to use our influence for God’s kingdom wherever we go and whatever we do. While I was speaking, I could sense that the Spirit of God was speaking to their hearts, but that it was not me that they were responding to, but Him. It was as though I was merely a connection for them to commune directly with God and that it was like I wasn’t there. They were, at once, in a cloud of witnesses and in a private chamber, in the midst of the presence of God, and so was I. I can’t even begin to put words to the feeling. It was like the crowd was there one moment and then as though I was by myself in God’s chamber and then after a few moments I was back once again with my wonderful brothers and sisters who were shouting and praising waving their arms and lifting their voices. Praise God for His tender mercies His is to be praised forever, Amen."
We were told by the reporters that the number of people that came were easily between four to five thousand people. When you have like minded people, with one Spirit and one Heart, in unity together, you can truly say that the heavens and the earth were shaken and that something significant was happening. In the words of one of the ladies that came to us, with tears in her eyes, "Do you understand what just happened? History has been made today, and not only here, in Calgary, but in heaven". WOW! What a revelation.
In a powerful moment, Larry Heather, a Christian reporter, from the radio, brought the past to bear on the present. When we stopped at the former Bible Institute where our William Aberheart, who, while he was premier, so passionately preached the gospel of Jesus Christ, through radio broadcasts. Larry reminded us that we all have been called to be bold witnesses to the love and grace of our Lord, wherever we find ourselves.
Then we continued to march into the more populated part of Stephen Avenue Mall with music and celebration happening as we went. People came out of the bars and restaurants to see what was happening. Some took out cameras and started to record. Some joined us with singing. The ones who were puzzled about what was happening received Bibles and tracts.
We were so blessed to see different teams that took the initiative and their own ideas of how to proclaim Christ and carried out plans that harmonized with everyone else without having to be asked. Some groups had professional banners printed wishing our Heavenly Father a happy Father’s Day. Some even made their own signs with their own hands. Some made signs in different languages like Hebrew, Polish, Spanish, etc. There were lovely things going on we didn’t even find out about until after the event. There was a team of people that was distributing tracts, Bibles and printed materials to everyone. We learned that thousands were given away during those few hours and that there were people who made a public proclamation for Christ. Isn’t God good? One Body but many members. One Christ that died for us all. "Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!", Psalm 133:1
After so much excitement and joy, we finally arrived at Olympic Plaza and commenced the remaining six hours of celebration. We had six or seven different worship teams. From violinists to bands giving all their hearts to the saviour.
Ric McIver on behalf of the City of Calgary endorsed the public proclamation of Jesus Christ and freedom of religion and expression. Jim Blake then prayed over Ric McIver and His wife asking God to bless them and to give Ric McIver the wisdom of Solomon but that God would protect him from the end that Solomon met.
Mayor Bill Mills then stepped forward and preached a powerful sermon that impacted many. Once again, Jim Blake prayed a blessing over this politician from the East. What an awesome privilege we had to have this man with us, that came especially for the March for Jesus from Nova Scotia. In the words of Rhael Rivest, "The East has joined the West."
Of course, having Rhael Rivest, a prophet of God, there during the march and then through the festivities, was a blessing on it’s own. According to the scriptures, "He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward. And he who receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward", Matthew 10:41
It was a great encouragement to have Rhael with us for about a month, before the march, praying for us prophesying, teaching about the Kingdom, and declaring in the heavenly realms more victories, that are about to come to those who are faithful and are not ashamed of Jesus Christ.
We also had a Messianic Jewish worship team that blessed us by coming up from Lethbridge. In fact, many people came to the event from all over Canada – from B.C., Saskatchewan, from Edmonton, from Quebec from the Maritimes, from Ontario, just to name a few that we are aware of. During their worship, there was a very emotional moment. Messianic Rabbi Cal Goldberg kneeled with Rhael Rivest in an act of reconciliation, before God and man, asking forgiveness on behalf of their communities, from one another. Jews and Gentiles coming together as Jesus always intended, one Body, two flocks. In the words of Rhael, as he stated after the march, "It was like electricity flowing through my body. I was just crying and was so moved." Later on Cal said that he was deeply touched by the love he felt from all around.
After hugging each other, and blessing each other, Israel’s national anthem was sung by all. Some were waving the flag of Israel. It was a very, very deep emotional moment for everyone that was there. When the people who were speaking were standing in the middle of the stage that was built in the middle of Olympic Plaza’s water pool, it felt like the water parted and that we were truly crossing, like Israel before us, through the promises of God and toward the fulfillment of His prophesies.
We had a couple of wonderful surprises happened near the end of the event. One surprise was a woman that stepped forward explaining to us that God had brought her to Calgary from Nineveh and that God had told her to pray for our City for some time before she came. Isn’t that something? Before God sent Jonah to warn the Ninevites, now He sent a Ninevite to Calgary for us. Amazing.
Then a Spanish group stepped forward and gave a lively performance and a passionate message with an invitation to come forward and receive Jesus. A salvation then followed right on stage in the middle of the water. Such a touching and beautiful moment.
Then Louis Formaz preached with the power of the Holy Spirit and another man stepped forward to make a public profession for Christ. This was a day where all in heaven were celebrating with us.
In the words of Susan Hearn, expressing what she saw during that day, "God brought us very far from where we started." She said, "Look at this, in a beautiful park in the heart of the City to have a celebration for Jesus, something that just a few years before was completely unimaginable." She was right, God brought us a very long way, and this is just the beginning. Like with Joshua and Israel after they crossed over the Jordan river, there is land filled with milk and honey promised by God.
We are so thankful to God, for the many people who prayed for good weather for the event, and for His mercy in extending us just enough for the event. Think about it, two days before the event, it was pouring rain, and two days after the event it, again, poured rain. God gave us just enough time to prepare, set up, enjoy the march and the event, pack up, clean up and then God washed off all the dust we left behind.
Everyone worked so hard. From the bottom of our hearts we want to thank every person that helped to make this event the great success that it was. It truly could not be possible without countless willing hearts and helping hands working together as one Body in one accord, having only one agenda, to glorify God and lift the name of Jesus Christ.
To all of you, may God richly bless you, may He keep you and give you rest.
We were absolutely touched by your efforts creativity and we can truly say that everyone brought their unique talents and gifting to the plate and gave their whole hearts, and when all of this was brought together it painted the most beautiful masterpiece of the family of Christ working in unity. This picture will remain in our minds forever. It is our sincere hope that the broader Body of Christ will embrace this Spirit and this vision and more will come to celebrate with us next year.
What happened in the preparation for the march and during the march proved again that when like minded people come together with God on their side, nothing is impossible.
By the way, you will want to keep visiting the March for Jesus website over the next few weeks and months as we will continue to post videos and photos, testimonials and stories, and updates and plans for next year’s Jesus Festival.
We did our best to at least, in some small way, bring you what words cannot describe, just a little glimpse of how it felt to be there and to partake in God’s mercy, grace, power and majesty. If you want to experience what we experienced and feel what we felt, come, join us next year. Until then, we will be cherishing all those precious moments that we spent together with Jesus and His family together on the streets of Calgary.
If you are googling in search of secular media coverage for the March for Jesus, you will not find any. Although we sent out press releases, they refused to cover the event. No secular television, no secular radio, and no secular newspapers covered the event even though we gave them plenty of advanced notice. But although the secular media is biased against Christians and Christian events, we can be the media of today. We ask that you promote this story all over the world.
God bless you,
The March for Jesus Team.