This New Year’s Day, I was given one of the most amazing opportunities I think I will ever have as a young Christian musician. I was selected as the representative for Massachusetts to march with The Salvation Army Honor Band in the Tournament of Roses Parade. We only met together about three days before our first performance. (Normally, most would consider this a train wreck waiting to happen!) But at events like these, there’s a certain energy that everyone shares that makes each person work together as a unit. From the first worship service, we were all working together to make everything happen. They called it “The Biggest Open Air in Salvation Army History.”
The highlight was the morning of the parade. We were in this huge line of busses, each filled with bands and dancers getting ready to take marching formation, and I was sitting next to my friend. “Wow,” he said, “look at how many people there are in that band. I didn’t think we were even that big.”
We got off the bus. This sight amazed me. That other band didn’t even come close to us. We had a sea of people. We had an army – an army getting ready to march for the Lord. While other bands were obsessed with staying at attention and keeping straight lines, we were smiling and waving at people, sometimes giving people high-fives and reaching out to others. We even heard a kid yell out, “Thank you for my Christmas presents!” We are an army in Christ, and although we don’t know every soldier’s name, He does. I wouldn’t trade this experience for the world, and I’d encourage anyone else presented with the opportunity to jump at it, because it is absolutely life changing.
Abby Irwin attends The Salvation Army Milford Corps Community Center.