Easter Song of the Day: “High Noon”

By

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.

crystal_sun_pyramid

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.


16 Comments

  1. Jesse Gray

    Amen, brother. Almost every time I hear that song, I weep. It is such a beautiful word picture of the love of our God and King. Andrew does have a gift, indeed. Thanks for the post, Curt.

  2. Jud

    Curt, we think much alike. It’s a dangerous thing for me to listen to this song in the car, it’s that powerful:

    Officer: License and registration please.
    Jud: I’m sorry sir, I was just listening to some Andrew Peterson and got carried away.
    Officer: Oh okay, then. Be on your way. Would you like an escort?

  3. Paula Shaw

    This is one of my most favorite songs of all time. Being an Anglican, and having led worship for many years, I think this song expresses the sheer EXPLOSION of gratitude, wonder, praise, honor, and “THAT’S my HERO, JESUS”, of Easter; especially after the long, long wait of Lent, Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and then the Great Vigil of Easter and Easter Morning. This song always evokes the memory of how it felt when I saw “The Passion of the Christ” and that last scene of Jesus waking, standing, and coming out of the tomb. I wanted to literally jump up from my seat in the movie theater and shout, “YES!!!!” It was an overwhelming feeling that I’m sure we all have experienced. One that cannot be adequately articulated with mere human word…..unless you’re AP and you have that gift! Thanks for posting this.

  4. Brian

    Absolutely! I get pumped up just thinking about the song (and, of course, the story the song portrays). Incredible song!

  5. JJ

    I could not agree more, and as with Jason, my heart is moved to worship and I weep every time I hear that song. I even recommended months ago to our senior pastor that the band play it this Easter. Being on break from the band myself due to my pending first child, I’m not sure if my request made it all the way to the necessary people. 🙂 But still, the song halts me in my tracks. If I had a “Top 5” or “Top 10” AP songs, it would definitely be near the top.

  6. RM Peters

    Before coming to the site today and reading your posting, I literally just sent an email out to my small group about this song. I have been cranking up this song all week, preparing my heart for the greatest day in history. When it gets to that part of the song exactly, “All praise to the fighter of the night, who rides on the light, whose gun is the grace of the God of the skies…” I weep, everytime, right on cue like one of pavlov’s dogs! One of these days I am going to get the courage to get in front of my congregation and sing, and this is the song I want to share.

  7. Seth

    I stumbled into the Rabbit Room via AP’s website. “Love and Thunder” is the only album of his that I own, and I was looking for another one. I was just talking about “High Noon” with my church’s worship leader this past sunday. I think that it is the greatest Easter song of all time. It should be required listening for any believer who struggles with recurring sins. The song has been such an encouragement to me on many occasions. Many. I cannot help but be moved deeply by the reminder that the Valley of the Shadow of Death is now shadowless. Thank you for reminding me of the song once more!

  8. Christy Robb

    Yes!! My students and I have been listening to Love and Thunder recently, specifically, “High Noon,” along with our morning devotions. We have all been greatly moved by Andrew’s lyrics. My sweet 4th graders and I love when he says, “so long you wages of sin, go on don’t you come back again!” Amen and Amen!

  9. Mike

    “and the demons they danced in the darkness, as that last ragged breath left his lungs and they reveled and howled at the battle they thought they had won”

    to me this song was a sleeper. I was so moved by the Silence of God and After the Last Tear Falls ( I remember where I was the first time I heard Love and Thunder) that it took a while to get the message of High Noon. But when I did…………………..WoW! Yep its on of the best Easter songs ever.

    Thanks Curt, good hearing from you.

  10. Profile photo of S. D. Smith

    S. D. Smith

    @sdsmith

    Great song, for sure. Thanks Curt.

    The song on that album that makes me a driving hazard EVERY time is the title track. Unbelievable. Believable. Amazing.

  11. Peter B

    Mike:
    “and the demons they danced in the darkness, as that last ragged breath left his lungs”

    What’s funny is that this line came to mind the first time I heard the first line of Hosanna. It’s fitting that the two should be so melodically similar at their roots.

  12. Eric

    Humdang, I an pretty new to the rabbit room but I love, really love the way you guys talk about each others’ work. I do own this CD in will likely listen to it on my way home from school for Easter break. Honestly I never quite knew what that last line was “his gun is the grace of the God of the sky”. Sweet. Anyways thanks AP and thanks Curt.

  13. Chris R

    One of my favorite memories of this song, of the hundreds of times I have played it (probably quite literally), was playing it as loud as my stereo would go while painting my families laundry room and bellowing out the lyrics at the top of my lungs. With the door closed to spare the family what I could, I think I gained a new vision of what the song said. Then I realized it was just the paint fumes and had to reopen the door. Despite that, brilliant song, thanks AP.

  14. Pete

    Outstanding. Brought a lump to my throat and tears to my eyes. The line
    “and the demons they danced in the darkness, as that last ragged breath left his lungs” made me think of the scene in Chronicles of Narnia where Aslan is sacrificed.

    Unfortunately, I’m playing it in my office before class, so I can’t crank it up to the volume it deserves. But at least my students will wonder why I’m smiling in class today.

If you have a Rabbit Room account, log in here to comment.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *