By John Fischer
There is a quirky piece of music written and recorded by the British composer Gavin Bryars that features a continuous running tape loop of a homeless man recorded on the streets of London singing an old gospel song, “Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me Yet.” The old man’s voice is wistful and wobbly, with a Cockney accent that somehow carries with it a toothless grin you can almost see, and a confidence that stands in stark contrast to his situation.
Jesus blood never failed me yet, never failed me yet,
Jesus blood never failed me yet.
This one thing I know, for he loves me so.
A reporter who was a friend of the composer recorded this little song by accident while researching a story on London’s poor, and Bryars had been captivated by its simple grandeur. He was haunted by the power of the old man’s sincerity and the boldness of his hope even though, by his own admission, he does not share his faith. That’s when he had gotten the idea to immortalize the man’s testimony by writing an orchestral accompaniment that would weave intricately in and around the sinewy voice as it repeated, over and over again, its confidence in the never-failing love of Jesus. The end result is a 75-minute recording that gradually works its way through various musical shades and colors while the toothless voice grins on and on.
Little did he know it was going to turn into something of a phenomenon. The piece scored a pop hit in Britain and did fairly well in America. Though it is considered a classical recording, its unique composition appealed to a broad range of people, especially a younger audience that turned it into a sort of pop icon.
Think of it: a bum out on the streets in the lowest of states, carrying a hopeful message to hundreds of thousands of people about the reality of Christ’s love that defies his health, his circumstances and the physical conditions that are his daily reality. Hearing it always makes me see whatever I might be going through at the time in a different light.
“Whether we are high above the sky or in the deepest ocean, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:39 NLT).
Or, to put it another way, whatever happens to you or me, we can always say: “Jesus blood never failed me yet.”
You can comment on this devotional online at:
JOHN FISCHER, as Senior Writer with PurposeDrivenLife.com, has specialized in a daily devotional that now reaches an audience of over 400,000 people five times a week. John’s career spans over thirty-five years of distinctive ministry, first as a singer/songwriter, recording artist and pioneer of\ Jesus Music, then as a best-selling author, and currently as a popular speaker at conferences, retreats, churches and colleges/universities nationally.