Gone But Not Quite Forgotten

In reflecting on the media coverage  Senator Kennedy’s death received, I  was  reminded about the premature death of a young musician some 12 years ago. Let me add this. To a degree, I understand the difference in the two from a quantity standpoint. One was an extremely well known United States senator who lived his life in the public eye. The other was a relatively obscure singer/songwriter of  whom the majority of Americans  knew very little. This individual was Rich Mullins and it so happened that died tragically on my birthday in 1997 in an automobile accident.

I remember seeing a small newspaper article the next day announcing his death and  thinking how few would notice or realize the extent of the loss. In some ways to me, his loss has been mitigated by the prolific nature of his songwriting. Not being really  qualified to evaluate anyone’s singing ability, I still thought that his greater gift lay in his words  rather than his singing.

He wrote over 100 songs and was  said to have written a page  of  prose every day. Some of the songs like “Sing Your Praise to the Lord” are a bit more traditional while others seem to be telling the story of a gifted , spiritual man, but a man who did not claim to have all the   answers. There   are words like this when speaking of his relationship to God. ” The climb can be so steep I may falter in my step, but never beyond your reach.” Simple but profoundly moving. I have many times found myself singing along(although I cannot really sing)  with tears in my eyes. He was a great  supporterof Compassion International and  worked with the Navajo Indian Nation in Window Rock, AZ where his spent his last two years. He was a     guy who co-wrote songs with someone identified only as Beaker. Quirky seems too plain a description of such a man.

He was not the norm even in the world of  Christian music. My wife has in recent days began to introduce his music to  our  two young grandchildren. Although he never had children or was married, I believe it is something to which he might have  smiled in aproval.

I can think of no better close than the title of  one of his albums- “A Liturgy, A Legacy and  a  Ragamuffin Band.”


September 4, 2009 Posted by | Christian living, Music | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment