In Winds of Heaven, Stuff of Earth you'll find a treasure-trove of memories, information, and testimonies to God's pervasive presence and everlasting faithfulness. Andrew Greer provides an ongoing narrative punctuated by reflections from musicians, publicists, producers, band buddies, friends and others who either knew the (sadly too early deceased) singer, songwriter, troubadour, and creation-lover Rich Mullins. Most of us have heard some stories from relatives, friends, or neighbors so frequently that even though the events happened long in the past or the characters died decades ago, the dynamism of the raconteur has brought them alive to the listener. In fact, that's how the canon of scripture began as an oral tradition before it became a written one. Drawing upon that tradition, the book also includes contributions from people who'd interacted with those who'd met him face to face so they'd developed their own sense of Rich's life and persona.
"Rich's imagination was so saturated by biblical narratives ... Yes, he longed for the winds of heaven, but he also ached for the redemption and restoration of the stuff of earth, and he had the courage to let some of Christ's passion for the world infuse his own." Page 175, from Chapter 34, "The Bittersweet Longing," by Carolyn Arends
I discovered Rich and his music when a friend linked me to "Help me, Jesus." The World as Best I Remember It was my first Rich Mullins album; "Calling Out Your Name" the cut that grabbed me so I couldn't leave it: "Where the sacred rivers meet // Beneath the shadow of the Keeper of the Plains // I feel thunder in the sky // I see the sky about to rain // And I hear the prairies calling out Your name." The Revised Common Lectionary appoints Psalms 96, 98, and 148 for Christmas, the celebration of God's incarnation on earth in a body made from the stuff of earth. Fields rejoice, oceans roar, trees sing, sea monsters, fire and fruit trees, wild and domestic animals all praise God because God in our midst means the end of pollution and decay, the beginning of the new creation, the dawn of humanity reclaiming its divine image. Martin Luther described the divine presence as "in, with, and under" all creation; in his closeness to Creator and creation, Rich heard the prairies praise. How about us?
"Winds of Heaven, Stuff of Earth" celebrates Jesus Christ, the power of the Holy Spirit of Life, and the promises of God the Father throughout—though it's not exactly a devotional book. But reading the short entries in order or at random still could enhance anyone's devotional life; it's not too much to claim it has a place alongside any collection or single volume of lives of the saints. As much as we can learn from the people of God in centuries past (shoutout to this year 2017 being #Reformation500 / #Luther500 and our ongoing awareness of ways God used both passions and imperfections of Martin Luther and other reformers, and more recent Jesus followers like Saint Teresa of Kolkata), Rich Mullins' inner struggles, his contributions to the world of music, the world of the church, and society in general bear pondering and at their best, are worth imitating.
I've had the privilege of being on the launch team for Winds of Heaven, Stuff of Earth; I'm excited to start wearing my t-shirt and finding even more fans for Rich!
my amazon review: Remembering Rich Mullins