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Easter Song of the Day: “High Noon”

Since I’ve been paralyzed by a mild case of writer’s block lately, I’m going to rehash–with an edit or two–something I wrote five years ago around this time of year. No doubt, many of you will identify with my experience of having been slain by The Grace Gun:

On Easter morning, for the second year in a row, I loaded up Love & Thunder in my car CD player. The ride to mom’s house was almost 40 minutes, just enough time to listen to the entire CD, a most appropriate choice for Easter Sunday.  The thing is, I didn’t make it to the end of the CD. I got stuck on “High Noon.”

I should have known; it’s happened plenty of times before. I became so awed by one song, I couldn’t advance to the other songs. Don’t get me wrong; I’ve always thought “High Noon” was a great song, but like certain segments of other Andrew Peterson songs, the depth of truth of certain lines didn’t smack me hard until later. In this case, it happened on one glorious Sunday morning.

I nearly drove off of the road when these lyrics came thundering through my car speakers on Easter Sunday, poignantly, as I crossed the river bridge, sun dancing off the water at–you guessed it–“High Noon”:

Let the people rejoice, Let the heavens resound, Let the name of Jesus who sought us and freed us forever ring out. All praise to the fighter of the night who rides on the light Whose gun is the grace of the God of the sky.

What amazing imagery. The creativity of using this classic film and the parallels it provides were genius. My friend Rebekah Mitchell found a mini-review of the movie, High Noon, from which this song was inspired:

This taut, tightly-scripted, minimalist film tells the tale of a solitary, stoic, honor-bound marshal/hero, past his prime and already retired, who was left desolate and abandoned by the Hadleyville townspeople he had faithfully protected for many years. Due to the townspeople’s cowardice, physical inability, self-interest and indecisiveness, he is refused help at every turn against a revenge-seeking killer and his gang. Fearful but duty-bound, he eventually vanquishes the enemy, thereby sparing the civilized (democratic) town the encroachment of barbaristic frontier justice brought by the deadly four-man group of outlaws.

There’s Jill Phillips echoing each line with her pure, angelic voice. Then it’s Andrew singing these truths, each one building on the one before, like a crystal pyramid reflecting the light of truth with rainbow beauty:

All praise to the fighter of the night.

And though I’m not a Pentecostal dude, with each successive line, I’m starting to be concerned about my driving because I begin to feel like I’m–what does Benny Hinn call it–being slain in the spirit? The phraseology of the lyric is potent and powerful, like a jigsaw puzzle, each line providing another piece of the big picture.  Finally, Mr. Peterson punctuates the narrative like this:

Whose gun is the grace of the God of the sky.

Dig out Love & Thunder RIGHT NOW. If you don’t own it yet, let my words be a gentle nudge in the direction of making the purchase. Just see if you can contain your joy. No matter how horrible your day may have been, let the hope that shines out from this song wash over your pain (or if you are already joyful, let it magnify your joy) and realize that as believers–we have it made! Or more precisely, it has been made for us!

Andrew Peterson is an amazing talent, it’s true. God has anointed our friend with communication skills beyond which most of us may aspire. Still, we are all share infinite reserves of possibility, because as believers we can reflect the very essence of Jesus.  He is in us, and we are in him. His creativity, His truth, his character, his Life come pouring forth from a well that will never run dry. What an honor. I see Jesus shining in the music of Andrew Peterson, but I also see Him in you, and sometimes, in myself. It’s concurrently joyful and humbling.

And as Rich Mullins wrote many years ago:

And I will be my brother’s keeper Not the one who judges him I won’t despise him for his weakness I won’t regard him for his strength I won’t take away his freedom I will help him learn to stand And I will, I will be my brother’s keeper

We can’t take credit for the transcendental work that He performs in us.  So, when I say I’m amazed and awed by any of you, including Andrew Peterson, what I mean to say is,

All praise to the fighter of the night who rides on the light Whose gun is the grace of the God of the sky…

All hail the power of Jesus’ Name! Let angels prostrate fall. Bring forth the royal diadem and crown Him Lord of all.

Happy Easter my Rabbit Room brothers and sisters.


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