Alyssa Loukota of Compassion International: I'd like to welcome you tonight to the Rich Mullins Tribute. We've got some announcements here in just a second, but tonight we're going to have Sixpence None The Richer, This Train, Greg & Rebecca Sparks, Ashley Cleveland and the Ragamuffin Band, Mitch McVicker and the Kid Brothers. [announcements]
Tonight we're gonna pay tribute to a man and his music, music that we're very thankful that he left for us and words that he left for us. And we're gonna pay tribute to him, but I think the best way that all of us can pay tribute to Rich is by paying tribute to God. And I believe that that is what he'd want us to do here tonight. And so, I hope that this evening, that you are able to reflect on the words of the songs that you hear, and think about them, and I hope that you are able to worship the God that the songs are for, that we're all here for. And I hope ultimately that that is who we pay tribute to as well, most importantly. And now, I'd like to introduce to you David Mullins, as he has a few words he'd like to say to you. [applause]
David Mullins (Rich's brother): If you would, as we . . . [feedback] whoa! Move the whole thing back--way back (referring to the microphone) hope I won't be falling off the stage. And if you would, would you bow your heads with me and let's pray together.
Our Father God, we come to You tonight rejoicing in the love of Christ. We rejoice, Father, in His compassion for us, for the salvation we find through Him. Father, we thank you for the Spirit and the comfort that we have through Him, and Father we thank You so much for Your church and for Your people here in this room. We pray, God, that You would make us one in every way, even as You are one. And Father, we pray that glory and honor will come to You in all things. We pray these things in Jesus' name. Amen.
First, I'd like to say thank you to all of you. Over the last several months, we have really appreciated the prayers and the support . . . it's been overwhelming . . . thank you. And then I had a few words that I wanted to say, being a preacher. [laughter] And I've listened to a little bit of several people talking here this week, so I thought I'd take my shot. Actually, I just have a very few words to say.
Does God ever work in your lives in ways that you have trouble understanding? Or choose to work in your lives in ways that you go, "God, this is not the plan"? Obviously in my life, and in a lot of people's lives, and from the sentiments of a lot of people that have said things to our family, and said things, He does that. I've had a lot of people say, I don't understand why God chose this time to either take Rich or to allow him to be taken from this world. And you know, God does that a lot of times. He chooses to work in ways that aren't our ways.
I found myself over the last several months kind of going to God and going, "You know what God? This is not the plan. This cannot be the plan. You can't work this way! You can't take your servants and allow things like car accidents to take their lives, not when they're working for Your glory, for Your honor." And God has worked in my life, and He's said, "You know what? Yes I can." And through the study of the Scriptures I have been reminded time and again that God has chosen to allow His people to be taken. He's chosen to allow His people to suffer. He's chosen to allow His people to go through great difficulties and great struggles.
The next question that came to my mind was this: "Then why serve that God?" Why serve a God that allows those things to happen to His people? You see, our world seems to tell us that our God is supposed to make everything great and everything wonderful. Our world tells us that our God is supposed to be sure that we are healthy, wealthy, and wise. But that's not the God of the Bible. And I found that the God of the Bible does this: He allows us to go through pain and struggle and hardships so that He can move. He allows us to go through those things so that we might realize that is exactly why we need Him.
You see, we might see brothers and sisters killed in car wrecks. And that doesn't seem right. But God is not concerned about this flesh and this bone. God had a greater plan. You see, the Bible teaches us that God works through all things to bring about good. And I have been taught that over and over.
Tonight, I appreciate again the support of you people to our family, the prayers, the cards, the words, everything, but I also know that our suffering, our grief, our tragedy, is nothing any more than probably many, many people here have gone through this year. Thank you. Trust God. Look for those hard times, for times to find that God has a bigger thing in mind. That bigger thing is not comfort, because, you see, He didn't even give comfort to His own son. He chose to use Him as a suffering servant. Let's suffer for the Lord, that we might receive our reward in heaven.
Tonight, I hope that again, as Alyssa has already said, that we will pay tribute to Rich, but even more to God. Because the good things that were ever said or done by my brother were not done by him. They were done by the Lord God Almighty. Tonight, I hope you enjoy, I hope you are blessed, and bless, by being here.
And right now, I'm going to turn things over to Sixpence None The Richer, so would you please welcome them.
Leigh Nash (Sixpence): This first song we're going to do is off the Canticle of the Plains, an album that maybe some of you have heard, that Rich and Mitch and Beaker put together, and it has this gorgeous music on it. I got to sing on two of those songs, and we're going to play those for you right now. This is called "In Your Hands".
[In Your Hands]
We broke a string so I can regain my composure real quick. Ok, this next song is called "Buenos Noches", and I love it because I'm from Texas and there's some Spanish in it, and I really dug that when I first heard it. I didn't even hear these songs until I drove all the way up to Chicago, that was kind of the style it was done in, and I got there and learned it all at once and sang it. And I had the best time, they were so good to me and...this is the first time I've ever performed these songs and these guys actually just learned the songs like three hours ago so this is really on the fly. [applause]
Anyway this is "Buenos Noches," and I can't hit any of these notes. And I couldn't when we actually recorded it, too, and I got a lot of laughs from Rich and Jordan and the fellas too, they just laughed at me, 'cause I couldn't quite hit those notes, but I'm gonna go ahead and give it a shot, so bear with us.
[Start of Buenos Noches] I'm sorry-there is something kind of crazy there. [laughter & applause] Sorry about that... [Buenos Noches]
Ok, fellas, now we can relax. That was kinda scary and kinda sad. [laughter] We're going to do a couple of our own songs quickly, and this first one we're gonna do is called Sister/Mother.
Thank you. This next song has another kind of a Spanish theme, 'cause it's all in Spanish, and it's called "Puedo Escribir."
Thank you so much. We've enjoyed playing for you and this is gonna be a really neat night. We're gonna do one more song and then This Train's gonna come up. This song is a hymn, called "I Need Thee Every Hour," so if you know it and you want to sing with us, please do. We're gonna do the first two verses and then repeat the chorus on the last one. OK?
[I Need Thee Every Hour]
Alyssa: In just a moment we're going to have This Train. This Train has been a band that has worked with and toured with Rich for awhile. They're a lot of fun, and they have a lot to say. So I hope you guys enjoy them, and just enjoy the mirth and the laughter, which I think is a part of God that we don't always remember. And, um, mirth. This is Mr. Mirth (pointing to Mark Robertson). So, in just a moment, we'll have This Train come on up. Thank you.
OK, let's welcome This Train. [applause]
Mark Robertson (This Train): Hey! Well, um, we made sure this would be a proper Rich Mullins tribute by not actually learning all the words. [laughter] If you've seen him, you know what I'm talking about. So we're gonna bring up some friends throughout the course of the night, if that's all right-they don't know 'em any better 'n we do, but, uh, [laughter] we're gonna do it anyway. This is an old friend of ours, a very special friend, who I can't find . . . you guys remember Beki Hemingway? [cheers] Well, Beki's gonna help us on a song here. This is actually the first one of Rich's songs I ever learned, the first song I played on the first tour I ever did with him, and it's definitely one of my favorite songs. It's called "Somewhere".
Beki Hemingway! [applause] You will keep coming up! But anyway, you guys happen to remember a youngster by the name of Mitch McVicker? And the Kid Brothers of St. Frank? You guys here somewhere? Uh, he's not coming up, we were just checking to see if you remembered him or not, apparently. I see a Kid Brother, I see no Mitch, but uh . . . the cool thing about Mitch's circumstances is he can blame everything on his accident now. He can forget anything and it's perfectly OK, 'cuz he hurt himself [laughs]. You know, I . . . we're actually going on tour for a month and Mitch is playing with us, so Mitch is back and we're sure glad he is [applause]. Not back here, like right now, where he's supposed to be . . . well, heck Eric, you just do it then. [cheering] Step up here, Eric. (Stage manager interrupts to announce that a car is blocking the backstage access area and needs to be moved.)
Where's Mitch? (Audience voice: "Moving his car!") [laughter] All right, we'll do this without Mitch, 'cause he would have just held us back anyway. This is the last song, did anybody see the Kid Brothers and This Train when we went out with Rich last year? We, uh, I don't know if you remember, we closed with the same song every night, from one of Rich's very favorite old hymnals, so we thought we'd give it a whack, and our backup singers Eric, Eric, and Eric are going to help us. [cheers] Stalling, stalling, nope, he's not coming, ok, one, two, one . . .
[No, Not One]
Thanks, Eric! Just for the first two songs, we have to cut a deal. Because Mitch forgot to show up, forget to show up just for the first couple songs, just to freak him out. Like, everybody hide somewhere. [laughter; the tent is packed beyond capacity]
I guess we don't have any friends on this one. The reason we don't is--one of the, I guess the, probably one of the biggest honors of my life being a songwriter is that--I think Rich, in my opinion, if there is a better Christian songwriter, I've never heard 'em, and I really admire him a great deal. [applause] And he and I were in the studio producing a record called Canticle of the Plains together, which you heard Leigh do a couple of tunes from. And Rich said, "I got a part of a song, I wanna co-write a song with you, and I got this idea," and he proceeds to play this idea, which is about 98% of the song. I think I added like, "the" [laughter] and one chord, and he insisted on splitting the songwriting credit. That's kind of how Rich was; if you were in the room with him, you helped write the song. So, uh, we wrote a tune together [laughs] I think I wrote darn near a sentence, I'm trying to be humble, but um, [laughter] but anyway (runs hand through hair) Oh, that was a bad idea. [laughter] You don't wanna know what goes on up there. I got this really awful haircut and decided I would just go for a different color while I was at it. Now I come out looking like some Billy Idol impersonator. [laughter & applause] Are you laughing with me or at. . . just out of curiosity. Anyway, this is a song, this is a song that Rich was kind enough to, to put our way, and it means a lot to me, it's called "A Million Years".
[A Million Years]
Forget what I said about friends coming up, they're no friends of ours. I'm not even gonna say her name. Ashley said, "You've got to let me do that one goofy song you do," which really narrows it down in our set. [laughter] "No, no, you know, that one goofy one." It's a...you're drinking from a pretty deep well there. Did I just mix sayings, or is that . . . 'cause I'm just making stuff up here, I know it sounds brilliantly executed and well though out, but I'm just stalling 'til Ashley shows up, frankly. Watch her blow us off, too. Is she coming? You have got to be kidding me. [shout from audience] She's with Mitch, yeah. They're doing a set somewhere over there. Oh, can I . . . oh, Beki, you're our only real friend. Beki, help us out. And Eric, our other only real friend. Careful, careful...(Beki steps over cords)
Beki: What are we doing?
Mark: You'll see. That'll teach you to stop coming to rehearsal. A lot of people ask me about Beki, why she is now a former member of This Train, and, she isn't a former member of This Train, she just no longer records or performs with us. She's still very much a part of the band, especially on this night, especially on this song we're about to do, huh, Beki?
Beki: Yeah! Um, as soon as I know what it is.
[Great Atomic Power]
Thanks, guys! [cheers and applause] Does anybody remember why we decided to do that song? When we played last year at Cornerstone, we played here last year at Cornerstone, by the way, and... [whoops from the crowd] Don't pretend you were here, I know better. Was anybody here last year? We played this very stage. [cheers] Wow! Things are looking up--for last year. The reason that I wanted to do that song is, last year Rich and the guys got up to play it with us, and Rich borrowed a piano. Does anybody remember that? And the person who loaned him the piano forgot to explain to him that it was in a different tuning. And I have a videotape of Rich just kind of looking puzzled at this piano. And I'm just hoping no one here read lips.
If you know Rich well, you know nobody could throw a tantrum quite like Rich Mullins could. And he would always catch himself, when it would get really ridiculous and over the edge, he would catch how dumb it was, and would turn into this amazing black comedy piece. And I think I probably miss his temper as much as anything I can think of, 'cause watching him blow up and then make fun of it for the next hour, it's, it's funny the things you wish you had back.
But, we wanna do this one, we've never tried this song ever--what's so funny?--not like all those others we do so well--but, the reason I wanted to do this song is, when our new record came out, Rich said he thought it was probably the best song I'd ever written. And I think, since we're paying tribute to such a great man, I'd like to just try it for him. And even if we don't do it too well, that was kind of the beauty of Rich, he always just appreciated the fun of doing it, and this song means a lot to me, and it means a lot more now. It's called "Goodbye".
We'll see you later. Thanks a lot!
Eric Hauck (Kid Brother): I would just like to read something here from the introduction to Brennan Manning's Ragamuffin Gospel:
"Jesus spent a disproportionate amount of time with people described in the Gospels as the poor, the blind, the lame, the lepers, the hungry, sinners, prostitutes, tax collectors, the persecuted, the downtrodden, the captives, those possessed by unclean spirits, all who labor and are heavy burdened, the rabble who know nothing of the law, the crowds, the little ones, the least, the last, and the lost sheep of the House of Israel."
One of the things that I learned from walking with Rich, during the time that I was with him in his life, was that he desired to love God. And the way that he worked out his salvation by loving God was by loving the people that were most important and most precious to God. And that was the lowly, and the downtrodden, and the broken of the earth. And I think part, a lot of this describes what we were. You know, we were just kids, and he allowed us the opportunity to play. And he loved the weak and the lowly of the earth. And his expression of love for God was expressed in reaching out to those who were stranded on the side of the road, without any food, and needing a ride.
It was also expressed in his great generosity towards Compassion. And I think that's why he believed so strongly in Compassion International, because Compassion is an organization that allows you the opportunity to give, and to love the needy and the lost and the broken of this world, which are the ones who are the most important and most precious to the heart of God. Because Jesus spent most of His time with the broken of the earth. And so He gives us that opportunity to reach out through Compassion, and give those kids the love of Christ that they normally would not have. So...I think that's why Rich believed in Compassion, and why I believe in Compassion. And I know they're here at this festival, and you can go to the Compassion booth and you can sponsor kids. And they didn't ask me to do a Compassion appeal, but I guess that's what I just did.
But, in seeking to love purely, Rich taught us that, it is in loving others that we are loved by God. And so, in speaking of loving God, the next band is Greg and Rebecca Sparks. And [cheers] they're going to come up in a few minutes. And, I don't know them very well. I only saw them perform one time in Nashville in a little bar/coffeehouse/pub thing, I'm not sure what it was, but...they, in speaking of loving God, they...I know you can't really know somebody through their music too much, but when I listened to their music, and watched them play and worship God, and my heart was filled with a gratitude to God, and praise to Him for His love for me, and I had a desire to love and to know Him more. And so, they sing their love songs to God. I was filled with the gratitude that He loves this...me, this ragamuffin, dirty guy...so, let's all, as God-beloved ragamuffins, who He loves dearly, worship with Greg and Rebecca Sparks as they sing their love songs to Jesus.
Rebecca (Greg and Rebecca Sparks): It's wonderful to be with you tonight, and pay tribute to a dear man, that we had wonderful times with on the road, traveling with, and wonderful times sitting in hotel rooms, and talking, and it was a privilege to have him in our home, and a couple of family situations. We've spent times at gravesites together, we've spent time crying about the passing of family members, and we've spent lots of time laughing, at just about how weird life could be. We're gonna attempt to totally ruin one of his songs right now...
[intro to Hope to Carry On]
If you know the words, we're only happy to have someone singing along with us, so sing along!
[words are forgotten]
Rebecca: Rich wrote, like, way too many words for me, so... I'm claiming old age and stupidity, so...we're gonna, we're gonna do another one of Rich's songs later on, but we're leaning on doing some of the songs that he liked to join us, of ours. So, he was kind of cute that way. He'd just walk up on stage and join with you whatever you were doing, so...whether you wanted him to be there or not.
Greg: What'd he say, "It's my daggone concert."?
Rebecca: That's right. He's the star of the daggone show. So anyway . . . everybody clap your hands!
There are a lot of thrills in life, but my dear brothers and sisters, and anyone else who might happen to be here, there is just one thing that is the most exciting, the most wonderful, the comfort, the guidance, the purity, the sheer thrill that it is to be loved by the Lord Jesus Christ, to be accepted by Him. [cheers, applause] There are days that we seek hiding, there are days when our world does fall apart, there are days of being stared down straight in the face, but that is not the end of the story. Thanks be to God for His incredible gift, for the Lord Jesus Christ who causes us to rise up in the face of death and say, "Where is your sting? Where is your victory?" What good news! The resurrected heart of the Lord Jesus Christ, the human power, the saving power, the power that could come into our world right here, right now and say, "Do not be afraid. Do not be afraid. There is a peace that will come. There is a hope that can grow in your life as you look to the Lord Jesus Christ."
[Field of Your Soul]
We would like to spend some time with you glorifying our Lord Jesus Christ together, bringing honor and tribute to His name. Thank the God that we all serve, the God of love, I'm positive in the honor of our friend, what he would love to have happen here tonight. So if you would, join us.
You know, it's a terrific thing. Greg and I have enjoyed this, um, twenty-year long ride of utter obscurity, and it has been so fun. And, the great thing about it is we can write these songs, and they're always new to you, because you have, like, no idea who we are. So, we try to stay kind of familiar with one or the other, either music or lyrics so, this one, the words will be very familiar to you 'cause they come out of Scriptures. And if you don't feel like singing, that's fantastic, because I don't feel that singing is such an important part of worship. What worship, what I understand it to be, it says in Romans 12:1, and I'll kind of adopt it to my own way of saying it: "I urge you therefore, my brothers and my sisters, by the mercies of God, that you present yourselves, a living and a holy sacrifice, set apart, dedicated to the most high God." And that, God sees that as acceptable. God, He is pleased by that, and that's what He honors as worship. So if you give your whole self, your heart, your soul, your mind and your strength to Him, and offer that up to Him, whatever you do, wherever you are, how great you feel and how lousy you feel. You know some of us feel like victorious Christians, I walk through life most of the time feeling like a big loser, but we are common at the foot of the cross in Jesus Christ.
So I'd love for you to join us, if you'd just wanna bow your heads, mostly just because of, I'm tired of you looking at me right now, so...just kind of put your eyes somewhere else and let's enjoy a couple of minutes. A lot of time we do a lot of talking to God, we kind of have our shopping list in hand when we approach Him. Well, let this be a time when God can speak His voice, His tender, His strong, His forgiving, compassionate voice to you. I'd be an idiot to think that I could like, really communicate to each one of you here, but God is God, and His Holy Spirit is without measure, so you enjoy His Spirit here for awhile. I'll sing for you, and if you want to join in once you figure out what I'm singing, do that, that would be great.
[Be Still And Know] [Sometimes By Step] [There is None Like You]
Listen to the word of God. It comes out of Philippians 2: "Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to your own interests, but to the interests of others. Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though He was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be grasped, but He emptied Himself and He became obedient. He took on the likeness of a slave, He became obedient, obedient to death, even death on a cross. Therefore, God exalted Him to the highest place, that at the name of Jesus, every knee will bow, in heaven, on earth, and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father." Amen. [applause]
I love this passage of Scripture because I have been on a path of downward mobility for about twenty years, and it is the most liberating movement of God's Spirit in my life. How free you become when you don't have much left! Isn't it wonderful? And I know a lot of times in church you, we don't hear it, because we're Americans and we want to be upwardly mobile, we wanna teach that to the people in church. But the gospel of Jesus Christ, the whole idea of giving up your life, picking up your cross and following Him, my dear friends, doesn't have anything to do with worldly success, doesn't have anything to do with ego, doesn't have anything to do with hoping that you get the promotion and somebody else doesn't.
I pray that the word of God burns inside you, and that He is a light in the darkness in your heart and in your soul, that your life becomes filled with His Spirit, and that you could live and eat and breathe everything that is Jesus Christ our Lord. There's nothing in the world like it. Thanks for the Bible (hands Bible back to an audience member).
Now, the last time we saw Rich, he was in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, which is our home, the uh [applause] yeah, thank you, Pittsburgh rocks! There's nothing like a lot of steel and concrete to make you really feel life, and that's what we got in the 'Burg. But Rich came to our town to do a concert, and you, you know we're not real good with getting babysitters, so we weren't able to go to the concert, but we said, "Rich, why don't you come to the house for lunch?" And so I made some soup and some homemade bread and we sat in the kitchen. And, Rich and Mitch and Marita were there, and our kids were hanging around, and after we were done we went downstairs, and Greg was making Rich listen to some of our music, you know?
And Rich said that this was his favorite song that we had written, and Rich, looking back it was amazing because I think Rich had a sense inside that he was, that he was getting more and more hungry to see his homeland. That he was getting more hungry, as we all should be, our eyes set on the goal, on the prize, not here. We've just got a breath here, it's just a puff of smoke, really, but we have a life, we have an eternity, we have a home that won't burn, that won't rust, that thieves can't steal from, that banks can't call us and ask us to pay for. [laughter]
I wrote this lyric, um, just to help you understand a little bit, for Greg's father, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease over ten years ago, and Rich spent days and days, we thought he would never leave, at the family farm up in Michigan, and uh, [applause] Michigan rocks! And he got to know Dad, he got to know the Reverend Al Sparks, and, um, he always asked about Dad. And Dad is being a creature of worship in a nursing home tonight in Indiana, and [applause] Indiana rocks! But as we have seen Dad's spirit leave us here on earth, I have become very confident of another thing the Scripture says, to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. Dad is more absent from his body than with us, in his spirit, but everything that he is, all of his mind and all of his soul and his strength is still in worship to God. This is dedicated to both of them. Rich is a little further over the river than Dad is, but to those of us who are looking for the other side . . .
A couple of years ago our pastor was doing a sermon on the Beatitudes and the Sermon on the Mount. The way he was describing it, it was like that Hollywood version of Jesus, the one that like, all the disciples smelled really good, and all of their robes were pressed. And you know, I'm in the middle of just having a family, in all of this, you know, we have three children and I spend most of my life in a kitchen or a bathroom wiping various parts of small peoples' bodies. And it came to my mind, hygienically, it was just not the same world, you know. You know how it smells out there [YAAAHH from the audience]... smell rocks! And, you know, maybe the reason the disciples were a little disgruntled about the kids climbing on Jesus was that, you know, there might have been a couple smelly kids there. It might not have been so pleasant for the Master, to the Lord, but that's the Jesus that I relate to. That's the Christ who came in the middle of our smell and our dirt, and loved us! And loved us, and held us dear, and close, and said all those fantastic things about His life and His strength, and being able to breathe it into us. . . . this is the last slow song we'll do, and then we'll do a little, like close with something just spectacular and like, the most rockin' thing you've ever heard in your life . . .
Greg: At least in the last five minutes.
Rebecca: That's right. We'll have to get all of our friends to join us when it's over.
Thanks so much for your kind attention! It always amazes me when people don't leave...and so, thank you so much, and it's been just a real privilege to be with you. Are your butts tired? Wanna stand up for a second, and scratch and wipe the sweat that's rolling down your back into...unbelievable crevices. . . This is a little song we wrote like a decade ago and, um, it, uh--
Greg: It was one of Rich's favorites of ours.
Rebecca: [laughs] Yeah, before I leave, I just have to tell you one more thing about Rich, this is a great one. When we were on tour with Rich, our record table would always do really good. And Rich would kinda like, he'd, I think the word'd be more like, um, he was like a vagrant back at our table. He'd like, he'd kinda keep, like, hovering back and forth, back and forth, and, and, at the end of it, we'd be like wrapping it up, taking the end inventory, and we were, like, making no money on the tour, and--did that ever change? I don't think that ever changed for anybody, but at the end, he'd always go, "So, so how was your record table?" We'd say, "Oh, it did really good, thanks, yeah, really good." And he'd like, have this look on his face like, "Oh," like, like, and then he'd start asking us how much money we made on it. And we'd get really embarrassed 'cause we didn't want to tell him, cause we thought, you know, what if we made more than him, it'd be like, you know, rude to say. So, when Rich came to visit us in Pittsburgh, we just kind of wanted to encourage him by saying, you know, that it was basically the house that the record tables bought when we were on tour with him. So...we're not gonna do the same thing tonight, though, because, you know, Rich had to do this really impressive thing, make an album that was released like two days ago, so don't worry about that, you know. So this is one of his favorite songs on one of those albums that he'd always be jealous about, that did well at the record table...I'm done now.
We dedicate this song to the church in America, which still has a hard time letting you have liberty and be the creation that God meant for you to be.
[I Can't Dance]
Aaron Smith (Ragamuffin Band): Well, you know, um, I have two kids, 15 and 11, and if you didn't know that, you know it now. And my 15-year old has made a pretty nice career out of babysitting, and the other day she had her first infant as a client. And, when the baby started crying and stuff, who do they bring it to? Me! I still haven't lost my touch, man, and I put that kid to sleep in about 10 minutes. Praise God!
But my youngest kid had, had a great observation. She said, "Dad, how is it, you know, that smell that babies have, you know? They all have that same smell, it's just . . . it smells real clean." "Yeah," I said, "You used to smell like that." "Did I really?" "Yeah, I even used to smell like that once, when I was, like, two months old."
And you know, we all smelled like that, you know, and we grow up and we go through changes and we kind of lose a little of that scent, you know, from the one year to the next, and then I know us boys, I know by the time we hit 14, we're looking for cologne. You know, and then life kind of takes us through different changes and kind of tears us apart, you know, we're not so perfectly clean and good-smelling as we were when we were two months old, you know, and then we find Christ, and we get saved, and he takes us, and puts us back together, and sews our arms and legs and heads back on straight, you know, and whadda you got? You got you a ragamuffin. Yeah, I'm a ragamuffin. We're all ragamuffins, you know, we've been saved by the grace of God and put back together and you know, in the way, in the form that God always planned for us to be, always intended us to be in.
And, I've done, I had done almost three tours with Rich Mullins as a Ragamuffin, and Rich, Rich obviously had a eye for ragamuffins, because we're the perfect bunch. I mean, we all have been, like, torn apart and put back together. And we all got our stories, you know, some of 'em worse than others, but . . . our stories no less, you know, and I'm just so grateful to have been a part of that and to still be a part of it, actually.
You know, and Rich always wanted us to go out and do our own thing, and he was always pushing us, you know, and he would take you and suggest things for you to do that you hadn't, you never thought of doing for yourself, and he'd say, "Yeah, you can do that. And I want you to, and want you guys to do this and this and this," and it's like, "Really? I can't do that!" and so he's like, "Yeah, yeah, you can, and you will."
And he wanted this band to, to do its own records and to write songs for the Jesus record and well, last time I saw Rich was last year here at Cornerstone and you know, and I walked up to him, and got a hug, and he said, "Well, do you have your two songs ready for the record yet?" And I went, "Yeah, I got a song." And he said, "Well, I got this great song, and you gotta come hear it." And we all run into a room and he plays this song for us on the guitar, and then I realize, I didn't have a song. He wasn't about to hear that thing I thought I'd written [laughs].
But, that was his plan, you know, he wanted us to come to this record, he didn't even want to sing on it, and we said, "No, man, you gotta sing on it, 'cause you gotta make these crappy songs that I'm writing sound good." So, as God would have it in His plan for things, we ended up playing the whole record and singing on the record. And I know Rich is really getting a big laugh out of this one, you know. Things are working out just like he was kind of pushing them and directing them. And we've always talked about, since his passing, well, what are we going to do with this thing, is this the end of it, or, you know, should we continue and, you know, will every gig be like a tribute, you know, should we just let it go and let that be it and, we decided that since we are a band of ragamuffins and we actually get support from each other when we're around each other, that we're gonna try to continue this thing. . . . [Applause] Sounds like you approve! That's great!
So, hopefully we'll see you out there somewhere, um, later this year and, on behalf of, of Rich Mullins and a ragamuffin band, I want to thank you all for your support over the years, for your prayers, during the good times and, and the very hard, emotional times, and we pray and wish the best for you all, too. And, just remember, we're all ragamuffins, and we're trying to represent you out there, you know musically and hopefully God's grace and the love of Christ will make our hearts pure and our intentions pure, and that will show through to make this band of ragamuffins seem more like, maybe, Barbies? But that's, we're just hoping that things can go well, and we just thank you again for your support and for your interest.
And now I would like to introduce to you friends of mine, the Kid Brothers with Mr. Mitch McVicker.
[Calling Out Your Name]
Mitch McVicker: We wanted to start with that song because Rich wrote it when he was living in Kansas, and we're all Kansas boys in our own different ways. I grew up in Topeka, Kansas, and Michael grew up in Wichita, Kansas, and Eric grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Eric: I was born in Hillsboro, Kansas.
Mitch: He was born in Hillsboro, Kansas. I think he lived there about 15 minutes.
Eric: Enough for two changes of diapers.
Mitch: How does it . . . you're still wearing diapers, right?
Mitch: It's a good thing you have that bass on because, you know, right before we came out here, he was, he was drinking some water and, and he spilled a whole bunch right here. And, uh, it's . . . you know, I don't think he's ever been more thankful that he played bass. But, Rich was really attached to wherever he happened to live, and I wrote this next song with him one year ago when we were living in New Mexico and, uh, [applause] oh, there's even some people from New Mexico! And I don't think that there's any place that Rich loved more than New Mexico. This, this song I decided to put on my album, and fittingly, it's called "New Mexico".
Not only is it hot up here, but we're all tangled up. Gee, um, when I wrote this next song, this is my own song, but I'm gonna do it any way because I think I've done it at every Rich Mullins concert that I've ever been a part of. And when I first wrote it, I thought it was stupid. But I, I went ahead and I, you know what? Rich agreed. But I decided I would play through it a couple times anyway and, and after I did that, I decided that, instead, it was profound.
Eric: Did he agree with that?
Mitch: No. [laughs] But at least that's what I told him just to get him let me play the song in his concerts. So that stupid little song is called "The Lemonade Song."
[The Lemonade Song]
Thank you! Are you all as hot as I am? Well, at least, at least we're in Illinois, and it ain't very humid here. (It was very humid because it had just rained. Someone in the audience shouts, "It's a dry heat!") Oh, it's a dry heat. OK, well, um, whatever you say.
This next song is off an album called Canticle of the Plains. And, and Rich and I wrote this song, along with, along with Beaker, and the Canticle is actually a musical, and the album is the soundtrack of the musical. And, you know I, Rich had wanted to write a musical about St. Francis for, for years. And he finally got to. And, this is actually the first song that Rich and I wrote together. I thought it was a significant song when we wrote it, and I think it is now, even more so. It's called "Heaven is Waiting."
[Heaven is Waiting]
Thank you. This next song is another song off the Canticle, that I was fortunate to be able to sing, both of them on the album. And I co-wrote this one with Rich also. And I think the Canticle is probably more important to Rich than any of us will ever know. I think, you know, we, what was attractive to him about St. Francis, you know, whether you think he's a saint or not, but, he, here was a man who completely abandoned himself to God. And probably followed Jesus more literally and more radically than anybody. And, so, I think there's a lesson to be learned from that. You know, I think radicalness is not so much in the color of your hair or how many body parts you have pierced. I think, I think the most radical you can be, is to follow Jesus. And so this is a song that, that we wrote on Francis', we wrote it based on Francis' Canticle of the Sun. And it was just a song/poem that he wrote in praise of God about God's work of creation. So we drew from that and this song was born out of that. It's called "There You Are."
[There You Are]
Thank you. [whistle from audience] Oooh, you're a good whistler. Ok, everybody whistle at once--one, two, three! [whistling] OK...
Eric: I think they're whistling at my legs.
Mitch: Oh...I think not. This next song that we're gonna do is off of Rich's second album, it's, that one's called Pictures in the Sky. And Rich and I had, had talked about me recording this song on my first album, and we were gonna rewrite the song and rework it and add some things to it and subtract some things from it and, and make it into something that I would record. And we didn't do that, but a couple months ago I did it anyway. And, so I guess in essence, Rich and I co-wrote this song. But, you know, it's kinda weird when the other guy isn't there to go, "Oh, that's stupid, I don't like that." And Rich would often do that. So, if there's something that he wants to change, well, he's stuck with this. But, really, I think he would like it. It's called "When You Love."
[When You Love]
Thanks. Michael worked up this arrangement of this hymn, "It Is Well." And I'm not gonna sing on it.
[It Is Well With My Soul]
Mitch: Whatever my lot, You have taught me to say, "It is well with my soul."
Thank you. Well, Rich loved that hymn. I, I couldn't imagine this whole thing going on without that hymn being played. So, we did it.
You know, a lot has changed since last year. Rich is gone, and I was hurt pretty bad, and there's still certain things that are messed up ten months later, but I'm dealing with it. Lucky for you, one of them is my singing voice isn't back to normal yet [chuckles]. I guess that's another joke where I'm pretty much the person who laughs. [laughter] I'm so good at those! But this next song we're gonna do is a song I wrote for Rich, it's about Rich, and I couldn't think of a better situation to play it for the first time than this one. So, I hope you like it, and more importantly, I hope he likes it. This is called "Rich's Song."
[lengthy ovation as Mike and Eric leave the stage]
Thank you. Well, I can use my pastor lingo now and say, please be seated. Thank you, that's awful nice of you. Well, I'm gonna do this one by myself, but how about Eric and Michael? [applause] I love those guys. I wanna end with this song, it's a song that Rich wrote, and I would love it when he would do it in concert. I think it's a terribly true song and I think it's really relevant to this particular situation. And I can't think of a better song that better sums up how Rich saw things. So it makes me think of him, and it's called "Bound to Come Some Trouble."
[Bound to Come Some Trouble]
Alyssa: Thank you, Mitch, Michael and Eric. [announcements] In just a second we're gonna have the Ragamuffins, Ashley Cleveland, and songs from the new Jesus Record.
Mitch: I just wanted to--talk to you a little bit. I wanted to read some Scripture that--Michael and Eric and I and Rich would get together each morning last summer for, like, a time of prayer and to read some Scripture. And we would, we really worked on this a lot, and we even memorized it, but my memory has kind of gone south since then, so I'm gonna read it. But it's a beautiful passage, and I think it says a whole lot. And it's from Romans 11:[33-36] "Oh the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His paths beyond tracing out! Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been His counselor? Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him? For from Him and through Him, are all things. To Him be the glory forever."
I wanted to announce to you the Ragamuffins and Ashley Cleveland. They're people that have always more than gone out of their way to be very nice to me and very supportive. And they mean a lot to me. You know, I'm really thankful for those couple of years when Rich would drag me along to Ragamuffin concerts and have me play, and the Ragamuffins basically tolerated me. [laughter] Because, as you were witness of, I'm not much of a player, but they put up with me, and they were so supportive and so nice to me. And Ashley has been a wonderful friend to me. So, in a few minutes, they'll be up here: The Ragamuffin Band and Ashley Cleveland.
Rick: I don't know if we're even really ready for this, but we're here to share with you guys, so here we go.
[Surely God is With Us]
Thanks a lot. Well, when we were rehearsing to come up here, we realized we weren't quite ready, but then we thought, we were never ready. I don't think any time we played at Cornerstone we were ever ready. We played together with Rich, and it is altogether fitting that it was a year ago that we played here, with him.
This is, this song means a lot to all of us. It was a song Rich wrote, one of the first ones he played for me, I think for any of us. It's called "Hard to Get."
[Hard to Get]
[You Did Not Have a Home]
Well, the sittin' part of the show is over, we've done our part. Now you guys are gonna have to help out, because, quite frankly, we can't go on without ya.
[I See You]
Rick: Sit down, but you guys just keep going. We have a couple of other songs we're gonna need your help on.
[It Is Well With My Soul]
[Sometimes by Step]
[Doxology] [Musicians leave stage one by one as audience finishes song]
[sustained applause fades into chants of "Awesome God"] [whistles and cheers as musicians reenter stage]
OK! Uncle! Let's do it in the original key... All right, all we know is the chorus, so sing along, let's go!