Anyone who has read much of my blog, or who has read the “Music and Bands I Like” page, knows that I am a huge fan of Johnny Cash. What I love about him is that even when he is singing something other than true gospel music you can often find a message of redemption in the lyrics. The song I Hung My Head is just such a song.
This song brings tears to my eyes every time I hear it. In fact, it did just that as I was driving home with my friend Audrey from our service time at Shepherd’s Door two weeks ago, which was not good because I was not on a good part of the road to have my eyes blurred by tears.
The message of this song is that we will all face the earthly consequences of our actions, even potentially accidental ones. In this case, the young protagonist accidentally shoots and kills a man. He is tried and found guilty, and as a consequence he is facing the gallows in the morning.
But the further message is that God is merciful and will save us from the eternal consequences of our actions. This protagonist feels remorse for what he has done and begs for God’s mercy. As he hangs his head in shame, God hears his prayer, and Jesus, the lone rider, comes to bring him forgiveness and bring him home.
He will do the same for each of us who seek His mercy and grace.