"Katrina, I may never see you again." My friend Mike (Koch) acknowledged that our time together at summer camp was running short. "I mean, sure, I know I'll see you in heaven. But it's just weird to think that after this summer, that could be it. Who knows if our paths will ever cross again?"
Mike spoke those words in 1999, two summers after we first met at camp and spent the summer of 1997 in the same friends group, saving seats for each other on Sunday mornings for summer staff worship. I remember one Sunday, the speaker closed out his talk with a prayer, and in glancing up after the AMEN, I realized Mike had disappeared from the seat beside me.
But then the piano started to play, and Mike started to sing a song by Rich Mullins, and the chorus rang,
So if I stand let me stand on the promise
that you will pull me through
And if I can't, let me fall on the grace
that first brought me to You
And if I sing let me sing for the joy
that has born in me these songs
And if I weep let it be as a man
who is longing for his home
Certainly, I had heard Mike play and sing along to both piano and guitar all that summer, but that moment - as he sang the words of Rich Mullins - felt different. It was one of those moments that stuck with my spirit, and I knew I would never forget him singing that Sunday morning.
That was the summer of 1997. By 1999, I had booked Mike to someday sing at my wedding. And in 2000, he gave me a CD labeled, "Demo for Kat." But eventually Mike and I lost touch, and perhaps we would have never seen each other again - except we ended up on the same airplane in 2007. Then, this past summer, a guy I had met through e-harmony, took me to the church where it just so happens that Mike plays music. The e-harmony guy admitted to me he had been wanting the opportunity to meet Mike for quite some time; he was thrilled that I was able to introduce Mike to him.
But the reason I mention all of this, is that late, last night I discovered that my friend Mike Koch is in a movie called Ragamuffin: The True Story of Rich Mullins. In it, Mike plays the role of Rich Mullins - a singer/song writer whose most popular song even landed a spot in The African American Heritage Hymnal used by The Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem, New York. (Or so I noted one Sunday morning in taking a group of students up from midtown to experience this church that Dietrich Bonhoeffer also attended during his time as a student in New York.)
Ragamuffin premiered last night in Kansas, and is currently on tour nationwide. And yes, I think you should go and see it - not necessarily because my friend Mike is in it, but rather because of the compelling life that Rich Mullins lived.
You can watch the trailer here: http://ragamuffinthemovie.com/
And Mike, I'll see you again. See you on film tour.
*The name of the film is derived from a book called The Ragamuffin Gospel, written by the author whose funeral I attended in Jersey this past April. I blogged some about Brennan Manning's passing and funeral here at Neptune and at Roses.