I don’t think I could have possibly realized how amazing he was until I really got to know the heart behind his music. Fast forwarding to 2006, I was in a Christian school choir as we were deciding what to do for our spring program. Our director decided that we would do a Rich Mullins tribute, and we would write skits that complimented the themes of his songs. We liked the idea, because most of us remembered his music from our childhood, but I don’t think I could have imagined the impact learning his music would have on my life. Aside from all the fun we had making 80’s get-ups and doing our performance barefoot, we learned so much more than we could have imagined.
Loving Our Lord and Savior should be #1
He spoke into the darkness and created the light (Our God is an awesome God)
The judgement and wrath He poured out on Sodom; the mercy and grace He gave us at the cross
I hope that we have not too quickly forgotten that our God is an awesome God
Rich talked about what he believed to be the most theologically profound statement: Jesus loves me. If we truly believe that Jesus died for us on the cross, then we really should be assured beyond the shadow of a doubt that Jesus does love us. You don’t die for something or someone you hate. If you know God is awesome and that Jesus died for you, then living your life in light of this truth should be your first priority in life. You should be able to live your life in the assurance that He will always there for you. These are truths declared in many of his songs, like My One Thing and If I Stand. It really challenged me to think about these things from this perspective. I imagine you can see why.
Jesus is the Answer
Where are the nails that pierced his hands?
Well, the nails have turned to rust, but behold the man
He is risen, and He reigns
In the hearts of the children rising up in His name
Where are the thorns that drew His blood
Well the thorns have turned to dust, but no so the love
It is given, no, it remains
In the hearts of the children who will love while the nations rage
There’s A Cost To Genuinely Follow Jesus
Rich was one to remind Christians constantly that Christianity is not about being comfortable. Being a real disciple of Jesus is a serious challenge and not for the apathetic. We are not just to hear the word; we are supposed to do the word. Rich reminded people of this in both serious and humorous ways. One of my favorites was his song Screen Door.
This is often easier said than done. Rich pointed out that our closeness to God is determined by our obedience to Him, not our feelings. But obedience isn’t usually easy and is often sacrificial. Three of Rich’s song come to mind: Alrightokuhhuhamen, Hold Me Jesus, and Sometimes By Step. All these songs have great messages. Alright illustrates that it is always better to do what God asks and just be willing to say yes than to fight him. Hold Me Jesus says a line that has proven to be true at many times in my life: “Surrender don’t come naturally to me.” A little later, the songs says “Your grace rings out so deep, it makes my resistance seem so thin.”
Of all the songs Rich wrote, Sometimes by Step is probably my favorite, mostly because I have carried its message with me the longest. The chorus was written by his friend “Beaker” and is still commonly sung as a worship chorus of its own. I loved that chorus when I was a girl. But the verses Rich wrote are just as powerful. My favorite is the second verse.
Sometimes I think of Abraham, how one star he saw had been lit for me
He was a stranger in this land, and I am that no less than he
And on this road to righteousness, sometimes when life can seem so steep
I may falter in my steps, but never beyond Your reach
This verse compliments the chorus Beaker wrote perfectly.
Oh God, you are my God
And I will ever praise You
I will seek you in the morning
And I will learn to walk in Your ways
Step by step you’ll lead me
And I will follow You all of my days
A Legacy of Joy
[If you are interested in reading my review of the movie about Rich Mullins, Ragamuffin, click here]