Elijah

So I saw this tonight, and afterward, I found this and this (what a treasure!). I find Rich profoundly inspiring. Aside from how he’s portrayed in the film, which I highly recommend and which is, by all accounts, accurate in regard to his life, I’ve also spent some time tonight watching video of him and listening to some of those concert monologues such as the kind you see in the film. Rich was raw, honest, broken, and true. He loved Jesus, and like me, realized at some point that he may do no better in the Christian life than to spend it plumbing the depths of God’s love for him. To know the love of Jesus in this profound, radical way, necessarily radicalizes you. You can’t help but be a radical lover of those around you, of the poor, of God’s good earth. Hypocrites though we may be, we are likewise beloved children of God, ready to foment a revolution of this love. Here’s Rich singing “Hold Me, Jesus,” and being very typically honest about the origin of this song:

The film spends some time with Rich during his early days at Cincinnati Bible College. Here’s a concert from about 4 years after he went to school there. This song, “Elijah,” was surely prophetic, with layers and layers of meaning, especially in hindsight:

 

In case you missed it, here are those lyrics, to “Elijah:”

The Jordan is waiting for me to cross through
My heart is aging I can tell
So Lord, I’m begging
For one last favor from You
Here’s my heart take it where You will

This life has shown me how we’re mended
And how we’re torn
How it’s okay to be lonely as long as you’re free
Sometimes my ground was stoney
And sometimes covered up with thorns
And only You could make it what it had to be
And now that it’s done
Well, if they dressed me like a pauper
Or if they dined me like a prince
If they lay me with my fathers
Or if my ashes scatter on the wind
I don’t care

CHORUS:
But 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

There’s people been friendly
But they’d never be your friends
Sometimes this has bent me to the ground
Now that this is all ending
I want to hear some music once again
‘Cause it’s the finest thing I have ever found

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

There’s people been talking
They say they’re worried about my soul
Well, I’m here to tell you I’ll keep rocking
‘Til I’m sure it’s my time to roll
And when I do

CHORUS(2x)

I could say much here, but I don’t need to, not with Rich around, even if “only” in that great cloud of witnesses. I hope to keep rockin’ too, and it won’t break my heart, Lord willing, to say “goodbye” either. More on that later.

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