What Rich Mullins has unearthed in his latest release, Brother's Keeper, is rich in the lyrical wisdom we have come to expect and the simplicity that makes Mullins uncommonly good for the soul. Continuing with the Ragamuffin Band (sans Reed Arvin and a few others from the A Liturgy project), Brother's Keeper is a milieu of earthy life-verses which reflect the strruggle of letting go. Letting go of pride, judgment, and apathy, letting go of our children and letting mercy lead, letting go of our own will to hatch from our shells and learn to fly, letting go of the past to join the joyful promenade, letting go of the wounds of love to find a faith of healing, and even letting go of life to find it eternally. Through his music, Mullins shares the rich truth that "although...foolish hearts may break/They will find peace," that to surrender is to live "I cannot cling to shadows again/So here on this altar tonight/I lay every dream I've ever dreamt/To burn in the fire He lights" (from "Cry the Name").
There is also an undercurrent of praise and thanksgiving that gives Brother's Keeper its power. Damascus Road, a song of praise for a totally transformed life, sums up the entire effort: "But if my darkness can praise your light/You give me breath/And I'll give my life/To sing your praise." It could be the song of Saul. It could be the song of us all.
Other highlights include: Brother's Keeper, a declaration about being human, the humanness of us all, and unconditional acceptance and The Hatching of a Heart, a metaphor for maturing in Christ.
Though not as uniquely encompassing and otherworldly as A Liturgy, a Legacy, and a Ragamuffin Band, Brother's Keeper stands on its own musically, heralding again the inspired idea that brought such talented, unconventional players together.
What was noble and moving church music in the Liturgy, Legacy project has walked out into the street and into the house. This is where we live. Or it should be.
Copyright 1995 by CCM Magazine
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