Rich Mullins’ Musical Legacy May Include Drawing Catholics and Protestants a Little Closer

"There's more that rises on the prairie than the wind." These words still rise in my heart when the majesty of the natural world lifts it. They're from "If I Stand," a 1988 release by Rich Mullins and Steve Cudworth. Jars of Clay covered "If I Stand" a decade later on a tribute album released a … Continue reading Rich Mullins’ Musical Legacy May Include Drawing Catholics and Protestants a Little Closer

Grant Me the Grace to Hurt Like Rich Mullins

I once heard a song on the radio that moved me so much I called the station to find out who the artist was.  The song, it turned out,  was "Boy Like Me/Man Like You."  The heartbreakingly vulnerable voice that had moved me belonged to Rich Mullins. "Boy Like Me/Man Like You" is the second … Continue reading Grant Me the Grace to Hurt Like Rich Mullins

“Brother”: A Song for Holy Thursday’s New Commandment

This evening marks a beautiful night:  the night Christ gave us a new commandment: that we love one another. The night he stripped off his outer garment, knelt and washed his friends' feet, telling them they must do likewise, serving one another.  The night he took bread and wine and said, "This is my body, … Continue reading “Brother”: A Song for Holy Thursday’s New Commandment

Matt Redman: Let My Words Be Few

When Jesus Christ was transfigured before Peter, James and John, they saw the glorious divinity of the God-Man. Peter (so lovably like us!) stammered a suggestion:  "Lord, it's good that we are here.  Let's build three tabernacles!  One for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah!" Then a "bright cloud" overcame them and they … Continue reading Matt Redman: Let My Words Be Few

Rich Mullins: We Are Not as Strong as We Think We Are

"It only took one little lie to separate you and me. Oh, we are not as strong as we think we are..." One little lie.  One futile attempt to solve a problem with a sin, to create a false reality with deceitful words. Rich Mullins reminds us of love's fragility. "When you love, you walk … Continue reading Rich Mullins: We Are Not as Strong as We Think We Are

The Creche, the Font and a Happy New Year

The sparkling Christmas season ends and we gently pack away the creche. The ritual becomes more tender every year.  It is a moment to contemplate each witness to the Nativity, to ponder the soul of each shepherd, each of the three Magi, of the silent Saint Joseph and Holy Mary. Then, the Babe.  Who are … Continue reading The Creche, the Font and a Happy New Year

Listening to Handel While the Nations Rage

The song in my head isn't on Spotify's top playlists, but a simple search provides dozens of versions. Enduringly relevant, the original text (Psalm 2) was written in Hebrew a thousand years before Christ. Its English translation came some 1600 years after him. George Frederick Handel composed the melody, an aria for bass, in 1747. … Continue reading Listening to Handel While the Nations Rage

The Flight into Egypt: Run, Mary, Run

"Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him."  The words of the angel in Joseph's dream tip off the family entrusted with God's son that they must flee Bethlehem.  They must protect the child by running for their lives. It is fitting to consider the cost of opposition to the kings of … Continue reading The Flight into Egypt: Run, Mary, Run

Choose Something Like a Star: A Christmas Contemplation

Starry skies call those who long for silence: leave the party, the mall, the jingle bell rock, the trivial TV. Step outside. Look up. Robert Frost's 1943 poem “Choose Something Like a Star" speaks to our position beneath the glittering skyscape. Alone beneath the stars the poet addresses "the fairest one in sight." He admires … Continue reading Choose Something Like a Star: A Christmas Contemplation

What Is Sparrowfare?

What is Sparrowfare? I've taken to watching the sparrows in the bushes around my house and at my backyard feeder. They're a calming corrective to the current climate of political anger and banal entertainment. I need a reset after taking it in. Sparrows draw me away from the sensational. Their very lowliness reminds me of … Continue reading What Is Sparrowfare?