Och has beaten me to the punch on this, the 13th anniversary of the death of Rich Mullins. I remember someone coming up to me before Sunday school and telling me the news of his death. I don't keep silent much--anyone who knows me, knows me as a talker--but I distinctly remember speaking very, very little in the days following his death. One of the aspects to my loquaciousness, unfortunately, is that the ideas behind them are not always fully-formed when I (attempt to) give voice to them; as such, they often come out as half-baked ramblings with a "gut feeling" behind them that tends to get fleshed out pretty well...once I've taken time to think them through and hear from voices deeper than my own.
Rich's was one of those voices. Audra has said that Rich is the reason that I became Orthodox (this only after reading Chesterton and Eckhart and toying with the idea of becoming a lay Franciscan). As Och has said, there's no doubt he was a matter of days, weeks at the most, from being formally confirmed a Roman Catholic. His voice was the first to put into concrete phrases the discord I was feeling within both Evangelicalism and charismaticism, and in a way it "gave me permission" to speak what I had been hesitant to say.
There's an irony to the way he went; of all the songs he ever wrote, he said "Elijah" was his favorite. May his memory be eternal.
And I thought of his article "Attics and Temples" (one of many he contributed to Release Magazine), when hearing Fr. Alex's homily on being shaped by the Cross this morning. All the more ironic, since the fact that September 19th as "the date" had slipped my mind this year. Thanks, Och.
(See HERE for Rich's other Release articles on Brian Williams treasure trove of a site.)
Sunday, September 12, 2010
Some September alms from the wind this morning after Divine Liturgy:
Thou comest, Autumn, heralded by the rain,
With banners, by great gales incessant fanned,
Brighter than brightest silks of Samarcand,
And stately oxen harnessed to thy wain!
Thou standest, like imperial Charlemagne,
Upon thy bridge of gold; thy royal hand
Outstretched with benedictions o'er the land,
Blessing the farms through all thy vast domain!
Thy shield is the red harvest moon, suspended
So long beneath the heaven's o'er-hanging eaves;
Thy steps are by the farmer's prayers attended;
Like flames upon an altar shine the sheaves;
And, following thee, in thy ovation splendid,
Thine almoner, the wind, scatters the golden leaves!
~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow