There were two voices of worship that uniquely challenged and shaped my views of life and God during my impressionable years. Truthfully there were more than two voices, but I highlight these two men because of their international recognition and the similarities in their lives. The first similarity is that both men lived lives of honesty, devotion and abandonment in their worship of God. The second similarity is that they each impacted generations of believers around the world, the first man impacting my father's generation and beyond, the second man impacting my generation and beyond. The third similarity is that they were both taken from this world through tragic accidents in the peak of their ministries. The first man was Keith Green who sang the following words at a club in LA shortly before his death in a plane crash (written from the perspective of God speaking to us):
For when I hear the praises start My bride, I want to rain upon you Blessings that will fill your heart I see no stain upon you Because you are My child, and you know Me To me you're only holy Nothing that you've done will remain Only what you do for me
The other was Rich Mullins who, like Green, had a psalmists connection with the Lord and who, also like Green, died tragically in an accident (this time in a car). Beautifully, Rich penned and sung these words before his death:
But the Jordan is waiting Though I ain't never seen the other side They say you can't take in The things you have here So on the road to salvation I stick out my thumb and He gives me a ride And His music is already falling on my ears...
When I leave I want to go out like Elijah With a whirlwind to fuel my chariot of fire And when I look back on the stars Well, It'll be like a candlelight in Central Park And it won't break my heart to say goodbye
Each of these men had an eternal perspective that I, in my stumbling attempts, have not yet attained. I've often wondered if these two men had each grown so intimately connected with the Lord that He just had to sweep them home, that their spirits simply couldn't be contained any longer by this world.
I want to clarify here that I do not believe that Keith Green and Rich Mullins had reached some new-age, zen-level oneness and were resorbed into a cosmic Nirvana.
I am talking about a real connection with the Living God. I'm talking about Enoch, about Moses, about Elijah and how we have the same access to God as these men did because of Christ. Neither Green nor Mullins were perfect, but intimacy with God is not based on our perfection, after all it was an adulterer and murderer who was called a man after God's own heart.
I'm grateful that these men were willing to serve God and His church, but I am amazed that years after these two men left us we can see that we the church have lost nothing. In this day the worshipers, the men and women who are truly seeking after God's own heart and are leading the church into an intimate connection with the Lord, cannot be counted on one hand (or blogged in one post). Today there is a mantle of worship, a vibrant connection, a movement of abandonment towards God that again challenges me daily in my view of life and God.
Today there is worship in every form: song and dance; art and expression; text and voice; silence and speech; action and stillness. I cannot list the names of every voice of worship because they are in every nation and every language. I cannot even list all the individuals who are impacting me, and honestly I don't desire to, because it is not their names that I desire to see praised.
I do desire to lift up the name of the Lord, to be exhorted by the chorus of saints around me, and to worship in spirit and in truth... and I hope you will join me.
Inspiration for this post from the Keith Green video and the following quote shared by Pastor Earon James: