Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Winds of heaven, stuff of earth
I cannot find in my own
And He keeps His fire burning
To melt this heart of stone
Keeps me aching with a yearning
Keeps me glad to have been caught
In the reckless raging fury
That they call the love of God
--Rich Mullins (1955-1997), Christian singer and songwriter
[click photo to enlarge]. Today I pause to remember and pay tribute to Rich Mullins, who died unexpectedly ten years ago today. He was a Christian musician, singer and songwriter, best known for the song "Awesome God." The title for today's blog is taken from one of his albums -- and it fits who Rich was -- he was drawn along by the winds of heaven, and he sang of the realities we wrestle with here amongst the stuff of earth. In many ways his was a prophetic voice challenging complacent, cultural Christians to fully belong to God and to incarnate and bear witness to His love. Author Brennan Manning likened Rich to a 'wounded soldier' -- so vulnerable in his pain, and yet so passionate for his Christ. For more info, click here and here. What follows are some of my favorite Rich Mullins quotes:
I think we cry at funerals--even funerals of people we don't like--because we realize what a miracle a life is. You realize, 'This will never happen again.' There will never be this exact combination of genes, there will never again be the things that have created this person to be what he was. God has spoken uniquely here, and it's gone. It's over. And I think there's some regret, because we all realize, boy, we didn't pay enough attention.
Every time you go to church, you're confessing again to yourself, to your family, to the people you pass on the way there, that you don't have it all together, and that you need their support. You need their direction. You need some accountability, you need some help.
I think that we were given the Scriptures, not so that we could prove that we were right about everything--it was to humble us into realizing that God is right, and the rest of us are just guessing.
I am a Christian because I have seen the love of God lived out in the lives of people who know Him. The Word has become flesh and I have encountered God in the people who have manifested (in many 'unreasonable' ways) His presence--a presence that is more than convincing--it is a presence that is compelling. I am a Christian, not because someone explained the nuts and bolts of Christianity to me, but because there were people who were willing to be nuts and bolts. Through their obedience to the truth and not necessarily through their explanation of it, they held it together so that I could experience it and be compelled to obey.
When I was in Thailand, I met this missionary. And I was talking to her and I said, 'You know, I just want the Lord to use me.' And she said, 'Well, forget it. God doesn't need you for anything. God doesn't want to use you, He just wants you to love him.
The thing that's cool about music is how unnecessary it is. Of all things, music is the most frivolous and the most useless. You can't eat it, you can't drive it, you can't live in it, you can't wear it. But your life wouldn't be worth much without it.
Don't resist the work of God by asking for an easy life.
If we want to meet Jesus, it won't likely be at church, although I'm a big believer in going to church. I think that when we meet Christ it will be somewhere outside the camp. It will be where people have been marginalized, people who have been literally imprisoned. We will meet Him where we least expect to.
I had a prof one time... He said, 'Class, you will forget almost everything I will teach you in here, so please remember this: that God spoke to Balaam through his ass, and He has been speaking through asses ever since. So, if God should choose to speak through you, you need not think too highly of yourself. And, if on meeting someone, right away you recognize what they are, listen to them anyway'.