Rich Mullins - A Liturgy, A Legacy, & a Ragamuffin Band
Music You Might Want to Consider - R
It’s hard to put into words just how important the music of Rich Mullins is to me. I have vague memories of his music from when I was in high school, but it wasn’t until after his death in 1997 that I really began to appreciate his artistry, his humility, and the impact he made on the world of Christian music.
Nobody seemed to encapsulate all of the doubts and struggles I felt myself. Feelings of inadequacy in the presence of our Creator, the intersection of what is beautiful with what is true, knowing that God can use anyone, no matter their station in life.
1993’s A Liturgy, A Legacy, & a Ragamuffin Band is Rich at his peak creativity. Built on the backbone of an Irish folk sound along with elaborate compositions involving the hammered dulcimer, Rich’s songwriting is as simple as it is devestatingly moving.
This is no more evident than in the trifecat of perfection that is “Hold me Jesus”, followed by “Creed”, and “Peace (A Communion Blessing from St. Joseph’s Square")”. This is clearly the “Liturgy” portion of the record; (The Legacy is found in songs like “Here in America”, “You Gotta Get Up” (Christmas Song), and “Land of my Sojourn”; The Ragamuffin Band is most evident in the other tracks around these.)
The prayer of the broken, reaching out to our Savior even though we are “shaking like a leaf”, hoping He can be our Peace in the midst of our trouble. Reinforcing that hope with the reasons we believe, and finally offering the fellowship of suffering that we all agree to when we take part in communion.
It’s both accessible and transcendant; drawing from the depths to find peace, and offering it to others. Which was Rich’s goal; to not draw attention to himself, but to draw attention to our Creator.
The music fof Rich Mullins has been a constant in my life for close to 35 years, my children are all familiar with his work, and I don’t think I listen to anyone more frequently than him. I don’t think I can sum up his work and his legacy, better than the man himself.
“If my life is motivated by my ambition to leave a legacy, what I'll probably leave as a legacy is ambition. But if my life is motivated by the power of the Spirit in me, if I live with the awareness of the indwelling Christ, if I allow His presence to guide my actions, to guide my motives, those sort of things.”
Rich died 35 years ago in a car accident, but his music will long outlast him. What a legacy indeed.