ST. LOUIS – On Easter Sunday, Brad will – God willing, he said – be at his post, testifying in his unique way to the power of his deity.
It’s a red-letter day on the Christian calendar, but it’s like every other Sunday for Brad in one way: He’ll spend most of six hours poised motionless on the steps below the Gateway Arch. He’ll be wearing his brilliant white costume and holding his flag that bears the design of a cross.
The flag-bearer identified himself to a reporter on a recent Sunday as Brad, Servant of the Lord.
He remains in place and stays mute unless addressed, he explained, but loves to talk to passersby about his self-proclaimed mission to spread knowledge of and confidence in his God.
“People are afraid,” he said. “But we don’t need to be afraid.”
His witnessing isn’t just another response to the threat of the COVID-19 coronavirus that’s sweeping through the world – and sweeping away many of our old habits of thought and action. Brad has been serving in this way since 2010.
Every Sunday, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
He noted that according to tradition, Jesus Christ was beaten about 9 a.m., crucified about noon and died about 3 p.m.
“I didn’t know that until recently!” he exclaimed, explaining that a friend had sent him some scholarly biblical articles on the subject.
Brad stands at a distance but within talking range. He hopes that, seeing him, visitors to the Arch will think about God and the state of the world, and be reassured that good will ultimately prevail.
“Fear is from the Devil,” he declared, adding that people should hold on to the promise of Christ and feel safe.
He agreed that different people could have different names, images and ideas of divinity. He has his own ideas, and a few minutes’ conversation only scratches the surface. But he welcomes debate.
He thanked his visitor for discussing his mission and its message.
Then he struck a pose for a portrait.