Friday, September 19, 2008

Remembering Rich

It was 11 years ago today when my favorite Christian singer and songwriter, Rich Mullins, was killed in a tragic car accident. He felt like a close, personal friend almost, and it was devastating to hear the news. Eleven years later, he's still greatly remembered and recognized as one of the greatest songwriters of all time. To Rich though, he was just an average person following God's lead and seeking after his final home in heaven.

This morning on my way to work the people on the radio (John & Sherry Rivers on K-Love) were talking about him, remembering him as a friend of theirs, and playing a lot of his songs. That was a great way to come to work and to start my day... listening to Rich Mullins songs never really gets old to me. I may forget sometimes and may put his CDs on the shelf for a while, but whenever I bring them back out they're as wonderful as always. I'm so thankful John & Sherry mentioned him and remembered him this morning. I think it's good to remember people like him. He had an impact on so many lives, and he definitely touched my brother, my mom, and me.

I remember exactly where I was when I heard the news. A bunch of friends and I had just come back from our college president's house for an ice cream social. My roommate and I walked back into our dorm room and saw the message light blinking on our answering machine. Then I heard my mom giving me the sad news that Rich had died. It was hard to hear it that way, but also such a shock that I fell to the floor sobbing. I couldn't believe it. I went into the hallway and told some of our floormates.

I remember the first time I saw Rich in concert and how surprised I was that he came out on the stage in jeans and with no shoes on. I thought that was pretty great that he felt comfortable enough with himself to do that.

I remember how amazed I was the first time I saw him playing his hammer dulcimer. What an amazing instrument. And oh man, could he ever play it!

I remember the first time I read the story of his life and how simple of a life it was. He truly was a remarkable man... a sinner after God's own heart, saved only by grace.

I remember hearing him make fun of his singing and his voice. I loved it. I think he was so talented and gifted, and I'm glad he started singing (at first he just started writing, like when Amy Grant first sang his song "Sing Your Praise to the Lord"). He really ministered to a lot of people through writing, speaking, and singing. He was very down-to-earth, real, and heavenly all at the same time.

I remember his interesting music videos, how unique they were because he was so unique:

I remember some of his live performances, now remembered with some live video captured and shown on YouTube (of course :)):
Screen Door [one of my favorite things EVER!]
Concert Part 2 [playing the lap dulcimer about halfway through]
Concert Part 5 [this is the best one for listening to him talk for a while]
Concert Part 9 [this one seems to be missing :( ]
Concert Part 10 [good message about salvation!]
Concert Part 13 [repeats a little of the end of part 12]

I remember his contagious laugh. I remember the interviews that I saw or heard and he sounded so simple, yet so in love with Jesus.

I remember visiting his gravesite on a vacation with mom & Tim (brother), many years ago now, as we went through Indiana. I remember how sad that was for me.

I remember his face. I remember his writing. I remember his songs. I remember his legacy.

I remember him not as being this fantastic person that flaunted what he had (didn't have), but instead this amazing guide and resource to point us to the God he believed in. I'm sure Rich wouldn't want to be remembered. I want to help use this as a time to remember Rich not because of Rich, but because of who he was in God and how much he did for God.

Today, Rich, we remember you. We remember the legacy you left us of seeking after God and yearning for heaven. And we are reminded that all our lives are a little less "Rich" without you. We look forward to the day we again see you in heaven. Remembering always that Our God is an AWESOME GOD!

A final word from Rich's close friend, Mitch McVicker.

For more information, visit the memorial website set up for Rich.

Picture taken from his memorial website, not sure who the photo originally belongs to.

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