Sixteen Years…so much more than Awesome God

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There’s someone I really want to meet in Heaven.  This week marks the 16th anniversary of his death and I will cry even though the loss wasn’t personal to me, yet it was.  It was so very deeply and painfully personal.

One September 19, 1997, Rich Mullins left this earth.  Most artists I listened to as a teen and young adult are memories.  Memories that take me back to that time and I laugh as I remember: big hair, stirrup pants, bulky sweaters, lots of eyeliner.  But Rich…Rich is here and now.  His songs are not memories.  His songs are life – real, hard, dirty and glorious.  What can I possibly write about this poet?  This man who captured so much of Jesus in his songs and life?  I have always felt partial to Rich.  I met him once, when he opened for Amy Grant on her Unguarded tour.  The barefoot singer.  He was an anomaly.  He was humble.  He was real.  I was too stargazed with Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith to notice him too much.  I wish I still had the photograph…

Rich was us, all of us.  His songs are woven into the fabric of my life.  I still learn from them.  There are phrases I’ve been singing for decades and just now discover anew!

Do yourself a favor.  Listen to his songs.  Buy the last studio CD he made – “Songs” by Rich Mullins.  It’s a compilation of some of his best.  He went into the studio and re-recorded four songs including his favorite, Elijah.  After you’ve listened to that go ahead and listen to the Jesus Record.  Listen to the rough recording.  The one he made in a little mid-west church on a tape recorder from Walmart 10 days before he was killed.  Ten songs about Jesus.

I have a hard shell but these songs, these words, touch a part deep inside me and I weep.  Yet, at the same time they breathe life into my soul

I know he doesn’t miss life on earth. How could he?  But I miss him along with many, many others.  Rich once said that it bothered him that people could quote his lyrics better than they could quote scripture.  His voice, echoing through the years via YouTube, has spurred me on to memorize more of Jesus’ words.  Words spoken by Life Itself to us.

Well, it took the hand of God Almighty
To part the waters of the sea
But it only took one little lie
To separate you and me
Oh, we are not as strong as we think we are

And they say that one day Joshua
Made the sun stand still in the sky
But I can’t even keep these thoughts
Of you from passing by
Oh, we are not as strong as we think we are

We are frail
We are fearfully and wonderfully made
Forged in the fires of human passion
Choking on the fumes of selfish rage
And with these our hells and our heavens
So few inches apart
We must be awfully small
And not as strong as we think we are

And the Master said their faith was
Gonna make them mountains move
But me, I tremble like a hill on a fault line
Just at the thought of how I lost you
Oh, we are not as strong as we think we are

And if you make me laugh I know
I could make you like me
Cause when I laugh I can be a lot of fun
But we can’t do that I know that it is frightening
What I don’t know is why we can’t hold on
We can’t hold on

When you love you walk on the water
Just don’t stumble on the waves
We all want to go there somethin’ awful
But to stand there it takes some grace
‘Cause oh, we are not as strong
As we think we are

Some links:

Wikipedia – Rich Mullins

We Are Not As Strong As We Think We Are

Elijah

If I Stand

Screen Door

Let Mercy Lead

And the trailer for the upcoming film about his life:

Ragamuffin – The Movie

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