“Well Jesus was a man
Who traveled through the land
A hard working man and brave
Well he said to the rich, "Give your money to the poor"
And they laid Jesus Christ in his grave
Well this song was written in New York City
Of rich man, preacher and slave
Well if Jesus was to preach what he preached in Galilee
They would lay Jesus Christ in his grave
Oh they laid Jesus Christ in his grave”
- From Jesus Christ by U2 (Woody Guthrie)
It was an obvious choice when U2 were invited to take
part in the Guthrie Tribute Vision Shared that the would pick one about Jesus. It was in their serious period – 1988.
Woody Guthrie’s socialism didn’t cause him to lose his
vision of Jesus. Jesus was a fellow revolutionary and this is a wonderful exposition of the Gospels that was sadly being missed in many evangelical Protestant pulpits of Guthrie’s day. English vicar and author John Stott called the lack of social justice by evangelicals the great heresy of the Twentieth Century but here is a folk singer keeping Jesus Gospel alive. It is Good News to the poor and it causes the rich to crucify the rebel. Jesus radical life and preaching
had him nailed to the cross a good three years before it happened. Even his birth caused a generation of children to be wiped out by the death squads of power. More preachers like Woody Guthrie needed!