God can be found, unsurprisingly, in the most surprising places. Take Waterloo Station, for example. Take a homeless tramp. Give him 4 minutes to sing anything he likes into an old tape recorder amidst the drunken ballads of his peers.
In 1971 (a very good year on many counts), filmmaker and musician Gavin Bryars, was working on a documentary about life on the streets in and around Waterloo in the UK.
During filming, random and typically drunk tramps and homeless men and women would break into song.
Some would slur a sentimental ballad, others a little opera.
Among them was a an old tramp who was not drinking. Was he someone’s father? Was he someone’s son? No one knows. He was just an old, dishevelled tramp. They didn’t even catch his name.
When approached and asked if he would like to sing something, he did. What he softly sang on those noisy streets silenced everyone in earshot. Such an impact did it have on Gavin that he later transferred it to reel and put an orchestral arrangement behind him.
A barely sober Tom Waits (If you know who Tom Waits is, you are either dead or not yet born) was invited to sing along with the recording of the unknown, unnamed tramp.
That tramps’ song is what you will hear in the following clip. It is a reminder that God is here and He is not silent.
And His promise holds true: Jesus’ blood never failed me yet. May the truth of it sink into your soul.
A huge thanks to Steve Harrison. Another ageing tramp that I dearly love and who by God’s grace gave the song to me all those years ago.