52:10 – Rich Mullins (1993, A Liturgy, A Legacy & A Ragamuffin Band)

Click on image to listen to song for free

In this post, we make our first tribute to the late, great Rich Mullins.  He is, far and away, my favorite songwriter of the modern era.  Therefore this will hopefully be the first of many posts about his music.

Perhaps the best way to summarize Rich is to say that he had a barefoot spirituality and a laser sharp focus on the person of Jesus Christ.  There was no pretense or show with him and he lived out his life the same way he told others to.  I highly suggest this book about his life in order to capture more of the spirit of his message and music.

Today’s song comes from his best album (in my opinion), A Liturgy, A Legacy, & A Ragamuffin Band.  It is a song that features one of his best talents: the hammered dulcimer.  But the real prize of “52:10” is that it is Scripture brought to life (musical life, that is, since the Word is already Living).  The lyrics of the tune are simply the words of God through Isaiah the prophet (hence the song title giving us the Bible reference):

The Lord has bared His Holy arm
In the sight of all the nations
And all the ends of the earth shall see
The Lord’s salvation
The Lord has bared His Holy arm
His Holy arm

The picture of God baring his arm is symbolic in ancient culture for someone who is extending friendship and good will towards another person.  Isaiah 52 is an entire chapter celebrating the fact that God chose, in His vast mercy and love, to extend Himself to Israel as a rescuer and a Savior.  The spirit of the prophecy is one of excitement and contagious joy.  Just a couple verses before is the familiar refrain: “how beautiful are the feet of the one who brings this good news!”  It is a Messianic text that announces the great cornerstone of our Christian faith – that the God of the Universe is coming to save us through His Son!

Rich Mullins brings this message across in a stunning way that has always reminded of me of the sun rising with brilliance or the trumpets of Heaven resounding throughout the sky.  It is good to take this song and simply meditate on the fact that God is our Rescuer.  The cross and salvation that we have because of Christ is always meant to be most central and most celebrated; therefore we should never tire of all the ways that we can remember this pivotal reality.

Rich excellently reminds us through this vivid picture of God opening and extending His arms of grace to us with a bold, bright tune and a confident shout that “the Lord’s salvation has come!”  Let all the nations hear and be glad!

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