“Sunday Morning Coming Down” is the name of a song written by Kris Kristofferson and sung by Johnny Cash. It is a hauntingly sad song, seemingly describing the after-effects of a self-indulgent Saturday night. “Hung over” is perhaps the condition of the narrator, but what comes across to the listener is the man’s cry of spiritual desolation, deep anguish, soul-rending despair. He is, in effect, a man with no place to go, no place to be. On a Sunday morning he feels the pain of his isolation, not just from the familiar weekday sounds and sights of the city, but from any sense of connection with the God for whom Sunday is set aside.
Forty years ago Kris Kristofferson was a genius. As a young man newly arrived in Hollywood, he could do no wrong. His songs touched the heart of the nation and dominated the airwaves. Then his talent seemed to dry up and he wrote no more. Now he is a grizzled old man who ekes out a living playing grizzled old men in the movies.
Sunday morning in a Kris Kristofferson world was a dreadful time. The normal activities of the workaday week were suspended. The downtown sidewalks were empty, there was “nothing to do” but mope about and feel the dark despair of a “Sunday morning coming down.” Johnny Cash’s deep baritone voice could make the phrase sound like doomsday.
“Sunday Morning Coming Down” strikes a universal chord in all of us because in our heart of hearts there is a sadness that never goes away, a sadness that never stops hurting because we have never learned how to fully give ourselves to God. We ascribe various reasons as to why we are sad, but the only reason for sadness is our separation from God. We mourn for him as we would a lost loved one. We can’t help it. That’s the way He made us. “Our hearts were made by thee, O Lord, and they are restless until they rest in thee.”
Time and narcotics have apparently dulled at least some of Kristofferson’s pain. The rest of us have endured in various ways, and a few wise ones have come to the recognition that sadness can be transmuted into love when we worship God. And we worship God only as we treat every moment of our lives as “Sunday morning,” -- a time set aside for God -- and we rise up to greet our Sunday morning, giving to God our hearts, our feelings, our thoughts, thereby knowing the peace of His presence.