Growing up, I was woken up almost every weekend by the clopping of horses’ hooves and the sound of gunfire emitting from another part of the house. I’d stumble into the living room to find my family sitting on the couch drinking coffee, eyes glued to the television. Gunsmoke was on. While I never appreciated Westerns the way my family did, I often sat down and joined them. I was amazed at how transfixed they were. Even though all of the episodes were reruns and we’d seen them numerous times, we’d sit and watch again and again. And it wasn’t limited to Gunsmoke; all Westerns were enjoyed – and if John Wayne was on the TV, then the channel wasn’t changing.
The love of Westerns is by no means limited to my family. Generation after generation continue to watch and rally behind their hero and sigh with satisfaction when justice is served. And that, I think, is where the appeal lies: justice. There was wrong and right and the evil had to be brought to justice at all costs. And this resonates with us.
One of my favorite singer/songwriters is Andrew Peterson, who has written an Easter song in this milieu. At high noon, in the valley of the shadow, Jesus rides into town with the gun of God’s grace, shooting holes into the darkness. He comes for justice. In the great showdown he overcomes the gang of the sting of death and the wages of sin, bringing victory on behalf of the people of his town who couldn’t fight for themselves.
It’s a great song and one that can help us prepare for the Easter season. Here are the music and lyrics. Be blessed!