When Malcolm Boyd’s Are You Running with Me, Jesus? was published back in 1965, my mother was one of the first to purchase a copy. It was a favorite book of hers throughout the rest of her life. When I heard on Friday of Malcolm Boyd's death at the age of 91, I thought of Mom who died two years earlier, and I thought of a prayer from that book:
It’s morning, Jesus,
I’ve got to run all over again.
Where am I running?
You know these things I can’t understand
So I’ll follow along,
OK? But lead, please.
Now I’ve got to run.
Are you running with me, Jesus?”
Boyd had a very colorful life. I wrote about him here before, because he was one of those wonderful people who truly made a difference. It's hard to imagine anyone having such a varied life - from his Hollywood days and friendship with icons like Mary Pickford to his lgbt activism and friendship with other icons like Harry Hay to his priesthood which also stretched wide and included coffee house appearances (in fact he became known as the "Expresso Priest") to the wealth of recordings and books which he created. He also shared his love with the man who would become his husband, Mark Thompson.
His books include Gay Priest: An Inner Journey; Go Gentle Into That Good Night; Simple Grace: A Mentor's Guide to Growing Older; Crisis in Communication; Christ and Celebrity Gods; My Fellow Americans; Am I Running with You, God?; If I Go Down to Hell; The Hunger, the Thirst; Free to Live, Free to Die; Malcolm Boyd's Book of Days; The Fantasy Worlds of Peter Stone and Other Fables; and As I Live and Breathe. His bestseller Are You Running with Me, Jesus?, which I already mentioned had a special 40th anniversary edition ten years ago. Oh and this is only a partial list, in addition to which are the numerous books he edited.
Although I read his books and saw blurbs about Malcolm Boyd on television and in the newspapers, my only opportunity to see him face to face was a few years ago at the Main San Francisco Public Library. I will always cherish that moment - he was just as kind and gentle as I would have expected.
This past week there came news first that he was very ill and might not last the night, and then that he was moving into hospice care and prayers were requested. It was not a big surprise then when I learned late yesterday that he had been born to eternal life, but sad nonetheless. Now the Expresso Priest can continue running with Jesus, perhaps he has joined my mom in that running, and both of them now are in the loving arms of Jesus.