THE STORY BEHIND THE HYMN – “Calvary Covers It All.”
1 John 1:7-9 (KJV), “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. 8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
One night many years ago at the Old Lighthouse, the Pacific Garden Mission in Chicago, Illinois; a man rather slight of build slipped into the services. He like so many that came to the mission was under the influence of alcohol. He did not respond to the invitation, but however, did keep coming back to the services. Still he did not respond to the invitation.
The workers of the mission had gotten to know who he was. He was a professional entertainer. “Mac,” as he was called, was in town between bookings. He was as he later testified, “a slave of Satan, sin, and suds.”
Mr. and Mrs. Walter Taylor, better known as Ma and Pa Taylor, were running the mission at the time. Ma had been in the entertainment field before she was saved and knew of its many pitfalls and temptations. Her heart went out to Mac and she began to pray that God would save Mac.
One night, the service was in progress, and Ma Taylor was playing one of the big, nine-foot Steinway Grand’s that Billy Sunday had given the mission. Ma looked toward Mac and saw that he was trying his best to sing with them. When the singing was over, she noticed that he listened to every word of the speaker. When the speaker was over, the invitation was given. The first one to respond was Mac.
As the invitation continued, Ma Taylor could see that Mac was having some sort of trouble. She motioned for someone to take her place on the piano. She went and knelt down beside Mac. As she did so, she heard him say, “But you don’t understand; you don’t know how bad I am, Lord. Really I’m the worst man in the world. You can’t save me, I’m too bad.”
Ma Taylor began to speak to Mac. She remembered a testimony she had heard some weeks before on, “Calvary Covers It All.” She said, “Mac, Calvary covers it all---all the sin of your past life!” Mac looked at her and said, “Please say that again, Mrs. Taylor.” Ma Taylor repeated, “Mac, Calvary covers it all!”
There was a moment of silence and then Mac replied, “Calvary does cover it all! My whole past of sin and shame! Oh! Mrs. Taylor, I’m so glad it’s true and you told me.” That night, Walter MacDonald became a new creature in Christ. As he used to say, “Jesus found me and made me all over at the Pacific Garden Mission.” Happy Mac, as he became known after his conversion, left the entertainment world and went on to become an Evangelist and outstanding soulwinner.
A few days later, Ma Taylor went into the chapel when no one was there and in the quietness of the hour, sat down at the piano and wrote “Calvary Covers It All.”
Far dearer than all the world can impart
Was the message that came to my heart,
How that Jesus alone
For my sin did atone
And Calvary covers it all.