It’s hard to believe that it has been 23 years since we lost Rich Mullins. In a world full of breathtakingly amazing songwriters, I still think his writing is unparalleled.
I remember where I was on September 19th, 1977. I was at an outdoor music festival in Nashville waiting to hear Steven Curtis Chapman and Third Day. Just before Third Day came out to play, the festival promoter announced that Rich Mullins had passed away in a tragic car accident.
Thousands of people who had been pretty rowdy suddenly went silent. It was as if mass mourning had begun. I remember Third Day taking the stage and quietly singing the words, “Oh God, You Are My God, and I will ever praise You…step by step you’ll lead me, and I will follow you all of my days.
After Third Day left the stage, Steven Curtis Chapman took over. He spoke about how Rich’s lyrics were filled with a longing for home and that he would always pour over Rich’s lyrics in the album liners He then dedicated a new song to Rich, and debuted “Not Home Yet”.
Well, Rich is home now, and we are all awaiting resurrection, living in the already and the not yet.
A little over a year ago I had the chance to record and release a Rich Mullins song that never made it onto one of his albums. The song Thunder was co-written by Phil Naish and Lowell Alexander. It probably won’t be remembered in the long list of Rich Mullins most remembered songs, but it will always be special to me for the way it touched my life.
Telling the story of the disruptive Thunderous grace of Jesus through this song has been a real privilege for me. In honor of Rich, and more importantly, in honor of his Savior, I wanted to share Thunder again today.
I’m curious, what are your Rich Mullins memories? Where were you when you heard the news of his passing? How has his music influenced your life?
If you would like to know more about Rich Mullins from one of his close friends, I had a great conversation with Shane Claiborne on my Podcast where he told stories about his friend. I encourage you to give it a listen here.