Monday, December 14, 2020

"Are You Washed In the Blood of the Lamb?" – Harry Melling and Pokey Lafarge, from the soundtrack of 'The Devil All The Time' (2020)

A classic gospel song, played here in an aesthetically perfect 1930s style in a strange movie that was released earlier this year. It sounds almost a century old, but is a fresh new rendition.

For Northern Ireland's tiny denominations who grew up singing this piece, its sound was forever indelibly stained with further blood in 1983. During the evening service at Mountain Lodge Pentecostal Church it was being sung when gunfire was opened up upon the worshipping congregation by terrorists - the audio recordings of the service were broadcast on radio and television in the days after. My brother and I have sung and played there, they are lovely people. The old bulletholed building is still there, left intact, but the congregation built a brand new building not that long ago.

"Are You Washed In the Blood of the Lamb?" is a classic of the genre – its lyrics strange and gory to the uninformed modern ear, but it of course not only speaks of Christ on the cross, but his fulfilment there as the Ultimate Sacrifice – one which the annual Passover Lambs were mere foreshadows of, all the way back to the Egyptian captivity. For centuries those spotless sacrificial lambs were specifically born and raised on the hills outside the town of ... Bethlehem, at a place called Migdal Eder (Wikipedia here).