After hearing about a Rich Mullins movie for a couple years, I finally saw a trailer today.
I watched it over and over, and it brought back many memories...
I was introduced to Rich's music in 1986. I was a new Christian, and everyone was listening to Amy Grant at the time. I went with some friends to see her in concert at the Patriot Center, the arena at George Mason University, where I was a student.
Rich opened for Amy. I think he sang "Sing Your Praise to the Lord," a song Rich wrote that became a big hit for Amy. I was greatly impacted by his music. I bought his debut album and listened over and over.
I bought every album he put out from then on.
"Awesome God" was probably his biggest hit, but I preferred some of his lesser known songs. A few early favorites of mine were "If I Stand" and "Home."
In 1991 and 1992 Rich released The World As Best As I Remember It, volumes 1 and 2. Both were amazing albums, with "Step By Step," "I See You," "Waiting," "All the Way My Savior Leads Me" and "Sometimes By Step."
In 1993 came A Liturgy, a Legacy, & a Ragamuffin Band, with "Creed" and "Hold Me, Jesus." The album was later chosen number three on CCM's greatest albums in Christian music.
Rich's music became the soundtrack for much of my life in my twenties and thirties. I listened to him all the time. "Hold Me Jesus" was my go-to song when I was hurting, afraid, uncertain about life, and who I was, and where I was going.
"Creed" was my inspiration, when I needed a spiritual boost. "Step By Step" and "Waiting" were my prayers, as I reached out to God and sought his presence.
I remember when Rich died in 1997. I was in seminary in Fort Worth, and went over to my girlfriend's apartment one day. She sat me down on the sofa and told me Rich had been killed in an auto accident. I sat there stunned for a minute, then began to cry. I felt like I had lost a close friend.
Rich also introduced me to one of my favorite writers, Brennan Manning, starting with his book The Ragamuffin Gospel--which is my absolute favorite book ever.
In 2002, I was leading a campus ministry at GMU. In October we went to a retreat at Eagle Eyrie, near Lynchburg, VA. The speaker for the retreat was James Bryan Smith, a professor, writer and speaker. Jim and Rich were good friends; in 2000 Jim wrote Rich Mullins: An Arrow Pointing to Heaven.
It was a beautiful picture of Rich's life, music and ministry.
I was thrilled to meet Jim, and hoped to get a minute or two to chat. One day at lunch, I had been talking with students and went to get some food as most were leaving the cafeteria. Jim came in, and we ended up sitting together and talking.
He shared wonderful stories of Rich's life and their friendship--Rich lived with Jim and his family for a time, and Rich wrote "Madeline's Song" for Jim's daughter, who was born with severe health problems, and died six months after Rich's death.
We talked for about an hour, and it was wonderful. Spending that time with a close friend of Rich and hearing personal stories about his life was amazing. I was so grateful to God, and to Jim, for that time. I left feeling even closer to Rich, who has made such a big impact on my life, in many ways.
If you don't know Rich's music, LISTEN! I've linked to many of his songs, I encourage you to take some time and let God sing to you through Rich.