The Birthday Drum! - Salvation Army Canada
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    The Birthday Drum!

    Retrospective #24 October 5, 2017 Randy C. Hicks
    Pennies! Coppers! Cents!
    Pennies! Coppers! Cents!

    As I recall, every Sunday the Y.P.S.M., either at the beginning of Sunday School or in the closing, would ask if anyone had celebrated their birthday during the past week. Those who had were then invited to come to the front and we would all sing “Happy Birthday” to them, both verses. “Both verses,” you ask? Of course both verses! First, the traditional first verse: “Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday, Happy Birthday, Happy Birthday to you” followed by the second verse (which we only sang in Sunday school) “Happy Birthday to you, Only one will not do, Born again means salvation, How many have you?”

    How many birthdays have you - one or two? Now I know you had one as you are reading this. You came into this world at a certain time in a certain place on a certain day and likely you or members of your family have been reminding you of this event ever since. I have occasion to listen to Classical Radio and often tune in to the Jack Benny Show. Most folk will know that when it came to birthdays Jack was always thirty-nine! So let’s say you’re “thirty-nine.” (I can hear some of you responding “Oh, let’s do!”) This relates to chronology, measurement, a nasty habit of humans in counting but what about that “second birthday” idea?

    One of the first bible verses we learned as kids was: ” For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16 NIV) The habit of most evangelicals is to tie this text back to the earlier verse of this same chapter where Jesus challenges Niccodemus to be, metaphorically, “born again.” So the “believing” and “eternal life” of John 3:16 becomes being “born again” and of course in our song “Born again” means “Salvation!” How many (birthdays) have you?

    Back to Sunday School! At our Sunday School when your Birthday came around you could respond to the YPSM’s call or invitation, go to the front of the hall to the small platform and buy a “Birthday Pencil” or a “Birthday Button” while we sang the two verses of Happy Birthday. I’m not kidding and the sad part was the older you got the more expensive they became! For example if you were five the item cost five cents but if you were ten it cost ten cents! That was kind of scary because some of the adults present gave a dollar! The desired currency for purchasing these items was pennies. You paid in pennies, cents, coppers! Not only did you pay in pennies - you had to drop them into a special bank shaped like a small church or maybe a birthday cake and you had to do so one – at – a - time. At the bottom of this post you will see a picture of a tiny metal drum dedicated to this deposit. THE BIRTHDAY DRUM!

    Some corps added another song to the exercise called HEAR THE PENNIES DROPPING!
    (See the words below.) Just think, younger generations won’t even know what a penny is!

    What do kids use today to buy the pencil - maybe nickels or dimes? How about loonies? Oh, Oh, Oh, I’ve got it! Perhaps today’s kids use a debit machine! “Would you like cash back?!” (LOL)

    Hear The Pennies Dropping!

    Hear the pennies dropping
    Listen while they fall
    Everyone for Jesus
    He shall have them all

    Dropping, dropping
    Dropping, dropping
    Hear the pennies fall
    Everyone for Jesus
    He shall have them all

    Dropping, dropping ever
    From each little hand
    ‘Tis our gift to Jesus
    From His little band

    Now while we are little
    Pennies are our store
    But when we are older
    Lord, we’ll give thee more 
    (See - did I not tell you?!)

    If we have no money
    We can give Him love 
    (Ok, but do you still get the pencil?)
    He will own our offering
    Smiling from above

    There’s nothing in the birthday drum at the present moment but should you be in our neighbourhood around your birthday time please feel free to drop in!

    The fiery-pumpkin-orange-bills are kind of nice this time of year wouldn’t you agree?!

    All pictures below relate to Birthday themes according to our records.

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