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Rich Mullins – gone 25 years

Rich Mullins died on Sept 19, 1997 in a car accident. A songwriter, poet, and prophet, Rich spoke with a voice that had grabbed my heart as a teenager. Hearing that he had died then ripped my heart right out.

I still remember sitting in church on Sunday morning probably 36 hours later and hearing Pastor Jim (himself a great musician) mention Rich’s death from up front. I was stunned. Leaning forward, I put my face in my hands and tried to grapple with this news while my fiancée put a comforting hand on my back, unsure what to do next.

At some point later that fall I assembled a group of musician friends and put together three of Rich’s songs and got permission to play them in his memory at a college chapel service. I’m sure we didn’t really do justice to “Awesome God”, “Hold Me, Jesus”, or “Elijah” that day, but it felt like the least I could do to honor someone whose music had meant so much to me.

I’ve written about Rich’s music many times here on the blog. The concert summary of the tribute concert at the Ryman, the post where I realized that Rich wasn’t the one playing the piano on all those recordings, and the wistful alternate-universe press release (10 years old already!?!) are perhaps worth revisiting.

Today, though, on the 25th anniversary of his passing, this short clip (shared by Shane Claiborne on Twitter) reminds us Rich’s message remains relevant today.

Rest in Peace, brother, awaiting the resurrection.

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