Is it just us, or does March 2020 feel like it happened millions of years ago? If you can think back that far, you’ll remember that, for a little while, the world was in a state of limbo, as we tried to work out what we would have to sacrifice to beat COVID-19.
When new 180 fav Richlin spoke to Alex, he wasn’t sure whether or not his imminent US tour would go ahead. Spoiler alert! It did not. But he gave listeners some advice which might be even more relevant now, as we work toward building a better world than the one we had before the pandemic.
Richlin was raised in a ranching community, with a population of around 300. He graduated high school with only 12 other students. ‘The joke was that we grew up around more livestock, more cows and horses, than we did people,’ he said.
‘I grew up in the Church, but it wasn’t until I was 19 that I had an awakening moment, if you will, where I encountered the presence of God. And from that point really knew that music was going to be a vehicle of ministry for me.’
He started sending demos to his friend Ryan Stevenson. Ryan was six years his senior, but as fellow country kids, they had a lot in common. ‘I grew up in more of a ranching community. He grew up in a farming community. And so we both kind of like to rib each other as to who grew up in the smaller town.’
That connection ultimately got Richlin signed on to TobyMac‘s label, Gotee Records. ‘One day, not long ago, he texted me and said: “Hey man! I sat down and shared your stuff with my A&R guy at Gotee!” And now I’m here talking with you.’
That was Alex he was talking to. His debut single, Royal Blood, took the station by storm. We reckon it sounds a lot like a Christian Imagine Dragons. He based it on Revelation 1:5–6 NKJV, which says: ‘To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.’
Jesus used His own blood to wash us clean. What an incredible thing to do. No wonder Richlin dedicated his life to glorifying God once he realised what Christ had sacrificed. But the blood of Christ also transforms us in another way. ‘It wasn’t just any blood,’ Richlin said. ‘It was kingly blood. It was royal blood. So if royal blood now covers you, as a secondary consequence, you now are royalty. And so that’s kind of the genesis of where the song comes from.’
if royal blood now covers you, as a secondary consequence, you now are royalty
For an up-and-coming artist, losing all your touring income indefinitely can be financially devastating. When he spoke to us, Richlin was facing that grim possibility. When Alex asked him whether his shows would go ahead, he said it would depend on the developing situation, and he was taking things one day at a time.
But he also pointed us toward Romans 5:17 NKJV, which says: ‘For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.’
‘And one of the things that we get to reign over, if you will, is fear,’ Richlin said. ‘If our lives are hidden in Christ, and His perfect peace, then as a secondary consequence, we get to manifest perfect peace.’
All over the world, people are frightened. And it’s ok to be frightened, but when we live in Faith, and seek God’s wisdom, we can show them that they don’t need to be so scared. ‘Right now, in this hour, it’s a really good opportunity for the Body to move in Faith, wisdom obviously, but not buy into fear that’s really being trumpeted, not just here, but really in the nations.’
The world we’re in now is not the same as the one in which Richlin wrote Royal Blood. But the hope and Good News he’s singing about has been with us for 2000 years, and it’s not going anywhere, no matter what else changes.
So think about royals you’ve seen, in movies, history books, and even real life. Do you see them trembling in fear of invisible enemies? Do you see them being scared of people less fortunate than they are? No way! They know they’re royalty. They’re confident, kind, and generous. They walk with heads held high.
So as you walk through this new world, remember the royal blood that anointed you. Think how a priest would treat someone he met. Think how a king would walk. That’s you. That’s how God wants you to walk.