SotD: Five Man Electrical Band, “Signs”

Yesterday I served as Worship Leader during our Sunday morning service at First Christian, Georgetown. Part of that job is to issue the invitation to offering, which I did thusly:

Those of you who are my Facebook friends are likely aware that I regularly post there about popular songs from the 70s and 80s. Well, today I have a confession to make, but before I do, it would help for me kinda do a Facebook-like thing about a 70s song.

“Signs” by the Five Man Electrical Band, a group from Canada, was a big hit in the summer of 1971. (Some of you a little younger than I might remember instead the cover by the hard rock band Tesla from 1990.) For those of you not familiar with it, the song has a distinctly hippie vibe. Its main conceit is that the narrator is frustrated by signs of exclusion that he sees all around him: they say things like “Long-haired freaky people need not apply,” “Anybody caught trespassin’ will be shot on sight,” and “You got to have a membership card to get inside.” But then, in the last verse, he spots a sign with a different kind of message: “Everybody welcome. Come in, kneel down, and pray.” When the time for the offering comes, he realizes he “didn’t have a penny to pay,” but he doesn’t let that hold him back, saying, “I got me a pen and a paper, and I made my own little sign. ‘Thank you, Lord, for thinkin’ ‘bout me, I’m alive and doin’ fine.’” (Show ‘my own little sign,’ fold it, walk over to a deacon, put it in collection plate, return to lectern.)

So, my confession: this isn’t the first time I’ve done what I just did. About 18 months ago, I heard this song on a Sunday morning as I was getting ready to come here. That inspired me: unbeknownst to my wife, right before the offering that day, I got me a pen and paper, made my own little sign, and put it in the plate. I’ve been wondering what the Trustees thought when they came across it counting the money!

And now, my point: as we come to this time in the service, even if we aren’t putting any pennies in the plate as it’s passed today, we can give thanks that God is indeed thinking about us and look inside to consider what kind of sign we might display to reflect those thoughts outward in the coming week. Let us give, and plan to give, with joy.

Here’s to displaying signs of goodwill to those we encounter in the coming days–the world could use much more of that.

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