Fellowship of Saints and Sinners

Fellowship of Saints and Sinners


Mental Health Break— “Hurt” and “God’s Gonna Cut You Down”

Johnny Cash has been dubbed "the philosopher-prince of American country music."

Before his death, Johnny Cash had been dubbed “the philosopher-prince of American country music.” (Photo credit: www.factmag.com)

Today’s break for restless souls looking for the More we’ve yet to find comes from Johnny Cash’s album American V. A Hundred Highways.  “God’s Gonna Cut You Down,” first recorded by Cash in 2003, the year of his death, was released in 2006 posthumously; and is an old American gospel folk song, now put to Cash’s deep, brooding drawl in a particularly winsome rendition.

I’d like to think Cash would be comfortable at our intersection: he was both a saint and a sinner, having lived much of his life addicted to prescription drugs; he was a womanizer, even cheating on his beloved wife June Carter; yet he also had a great big heart for other sinners, spending much of his time singing in prisons, and at the end of his life, his very last album Hurt seems to be the work of an artist who has wrestled with God and made peace.

The accompanying music video for “God’s Gonna Cut You Down” was made after Cash’s death:

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In finding that, I also stumbled upon the video for Cash’s song “Hurt”—the crown jewel of his last album by that same name.  In the song you’ll see a man at the end of his life reflecting upon his “empire of dirt” and contemplating both the transience of his life and his capacity for eternity, as well as his need for a God on a cross:

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