Man in Black

Well, you wonder why
I always dress in black
Why you never see
Bright colors on my back…

Johnny Cash explains why he always wears black…

I wear the black
For the poor and the beaten down
Livin’ in the hopeless
Hungry side of town
I wear it for the prisoner
Who has long paid for his crime
But is there because
He’s a victim of the times

He wears black to identify with the poor, the disadvantaged, he homeless, the criminal… He doesn’t apportion blame or make excuses…

I wear the black
For those who’ve never read
Or listened
To the words that Jesus said
About the road to happiness
Through love and charity
Why you’d think He’s talking
Straight to you and me

Many of the folk he would champion have never heard about Jesus. He steps outside the Christian in-club of comfortable security; he joins those outside, wearing black as part of his way of telling them about the loving Jesus who can relate to them…

I wear it
For the sick and lonely old
For the reckless ones
Whose bad trip left them cold…

Johnny Cash is a realist, seeing people and situations as they are… accepting that things will always need changing… He’s brave enough to highlight the links between war and religion… those who’ve deceived and disillusioned by religion…

And, I wear it
For the thousands who have died
Believin’ that the Lord
Was on their side…

Musing… on the words and actions of Jesus… ‘love your neighbour as yourself…’ ‘whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine you did for me…’ JC responded to JC; he responded to his world; he wore black… How do I remember Jesus and the disadvantaged today?  

Ah, I’d love to wear a rainbow
Every day
And tell the world
That everything’s okay
But I’ll try to carry off
A little darkness on my back
Till things are brighter
I’m the man in black

4 thoughts on “Man in Black

  1. Fabulous post – this is a wonderful song by Cash that reminds us how poignant and universal his lyrics could be…


    1. Thanks Martin. I agree it’s a wonderful song. Johnny Cash is sometimes portrayed as a country singer with a bit of a chip on his shoulder. I think this song shows something of his understanding of people, society and faith – and his care and response.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I was able to see him live in person in my younger years. Not a fan of his musical style he was great as a person, in person. Seemed very humble and yet very funny and entertaining. Rare qualities. I liked his music after that. He told the story of how man in black came to be. A whole lot of depth to his thinking behind the words. Great post Malcolm.


  3. Thanks Gary. I’ve watched/listened to one or two of his live concerts and interviews. I really respect him, the journey of his life was fascinating… to me his sincerity was always genuine. I’m with you – as I’ve got older I’ve appreciated his music more, and his later albums particularly say a lot about the man and his faith.


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