I should have had this for Good Friday or Easter Sunday, but better late than never. This is another one my mother used to sing. Sometimes it would make me cry, when I was a little boy. This is Were You There When They Crucified My Lord?, sung by Johnny Cash… decades ago on TV.
This is from a 1974 Columbo episode called “Swan Song,” guest starring Johnny Cash. Actually it’s a Johnny Cash gospel song from 1966, I Saw the Light–and the lyrics are spot on. The backup is a little overproduced for my taste, but it’s a catchy tune with Johnny Cash’s voice and, most importantly, a solid Christian message.
Modern Christians, many of them, don’t like to think about God’s just wrath and do all they can to dismiss it from their minds. But it’s part of the way the world works, and to ignore it is to ignore reality. Be of good cheer, though: forgiveness and redemption through Jesus Christ is also part of how the world works.
If some of the faces in this video seem hauntingly familiar, it’s because they all belonged to famous criminals who came to bad ends. As Psalm 73 reminds us, they don’t get away with it forever: Surely thou didst set them in slippery places: thou castedst them down into destruction. How are they brought into desolation, as in a moment! they are utterly consumed with terrors (verses 18-19).
Warnings of God’s wrath are meant to move us to repentance. They should be heeded.
It’s hard to imagine anyone but Johnny Cash singing this.
This being Good Friday, I thought this a suitable hymn to share with you–Johnny Cash performing Were You There When They Crucified My Lord?
My mother used to sing this around the house. I trust she sings it now, in glory.
What do you say to a bit of spiritual nourishment before we bite into the news of the day?
I picked this one myself because I finally caught up on all your requests, folks, and there weren’t any waiting for me this morning.
Whatever else you might say of Johnny Cash, he had a gift for gospel.
Joyce, you asked for it and here it is: this rendition by Alan Jackson. I’d also like to hear Johnny Cash perform this song, but that I couldn’t find.
There is a lot of Christian music out there, and it doesn’t have to be published in a hymnal for me to post it here. It’s all to do with making a joyful noise unto the Lord.