Still marching!


THE LONGEST RUNNING BAND in the Tournament of Roses history–The Salvation Army Tournament of Roses Band–participated for the 82nd year. For the second year, the band was composed of members from across the country, including 65 from out-of-state; an additional 50 were from the Eastern Pennsylvania & Delaware Division’s Pendel Brass and timbrels.


Imagine for a minute you are an 18th century Salvationist in London, England. You put on your uniform, dark blue trousers and a button up high collar tunic. Walk out of your home and start to walk down the street to your corps. As you’re walking, you notice people are looking at you, some strangely, others glare, and a few give a respective wink. As night begins to fall, you approach the corps and observe other Salvationists standing outside, preparing for the “Hallelujah march.”

You see the bandsmen standing in the street warming up their horns and going over a few selections. You see four men holding big bass drums, with the words “The Salvation Army” inscribed on them. You look to your left and see about 20 faithful Lassies in a circle, praying that souls will be won for Jesus Christ. Then, walking out of the corps building comes General William Booth and his officers. He yells, “Let’s march!” and he takes the front lead and the rest follow. The band starts playing, the lassies with the timbrels chime in, and the bass drums begin with a loud BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!

As you turn a corner and head down the street with the band blasting, timbrels chiming, drums booming, the rest singing along to the march tunes, you notice the local taverns and brothels. Belligerents start to come out and soon they start hurling insults. Then come the eggs, splat! all over uniforms, over horns, over drums. Then come the rocks; you watch as fellow Salvationists are pelted.

As you turn another corner and head down to the park, you see those around you wipe off the eggs, wipe of the blood running down faces. Then, the band again begins; the horns blast, the Lassies bang on the timbrels, the drummers beat the drums, the rest sing a march tune. Finally, you reach the park and circle around it to attract attention. All kinds of drunkards, outcasts, runaways prostitutes, homeless and others come and listen to the music. General William Booth stands on a park bench and delivers a spirited message to repent and find salvation.

Then, the big bass drums are used for altars, and people come and pray, confessing their sins, being born again by the cleansing blood of Jesus. You look around and find not one Salvationist concerned about what just happened to them on the way to the park, but praising God for the souls won to Christ.

John 15:33 says “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Because Christ overcame the world, through him we, too, can overcome. The only question is: are we as God’s Army still marching? Are you still marching?

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