I woke up with this song in my head this morning. When I hear it, I imagine pelicans flying along the waves of the ocean and I’m fairly certain the connection between this song and that scene comes from Jurassic Park, but that has absolutely no bearing on what I’m going to write about here or how my brain even managed to connect the two… sorry, I think I need a bit more coffee before I continue.
Let’s all refill our cups and start again, shall we?
Every time I hear this hymn, my soul stirs with a deep longing, a homesick feeling of sorts. So, to wake up with it in my head has meant a day “in my head” and long moments of sitting with the words “here I am, Lord.”
In the timeless and timely story the hymn tells,* God hears the cries of the people and promises comfort, transformation, and sustenance. God then asks “whom shall I send?” Our loving and compassionate God provides for us through the hands and feet and hearts of each of us.
God knows the pain of darkness in our lives and wants us to know the hope of unconditional love. The weight of guilt and shame so many of us bear about our behavior, our past, our present, isn’t from God. God desires to free us from that weight and give us the freedom of new life provided by unconditional love. But instead of snatching us out of this world God gives us each other to be the light of unconditional love. God asks, “who will bear my light to them?” When you cannot see the light of Love it is my role to remind you Love is with us even when you can’t see it. And when the darkness overwhelms me, I need you to do the same.
God knows the coldness and hardness of heart caused by the hate in this world and shows us the softening and strengthening balm of self-giving love. Hate has become normalized in our culture. Mocking, belittling, and degrading others is a misguided attempt to make ourselves feel better or superior. Telling others they must be also afraid is a false sense of security. These behaviors themselves come from a place of fear and insecurity. Hearts of stone are carved in an effort to protect ourselves from the hate we ourselves are fostering by hardening our hearts. God asks, “who will speak my word to them?” When we experience someone expressing hate, when we catch ourselves returning hate for hate, we counter it with words of love from God to ourselves and to those around us.
God knows the loneliness and fear of those cast aside and ignored by society and offers the feast of belonging and love to all. Our society teaches us to be selective in who we let belong and that each group is limited in size and scope – the more people we “let in” the less we will each have. The economy of belonging in God’s kingdom allows room at the table for everyone. The more people we include, the greater the resources for us all because love grows as we give it.
God sees and hears and knows the darkness and hardness and loneliness of this world and gives us an alternative. We are part of God’s plan to bring heaven to earth. We each have something to contribute to make this world as God intends it to be. Together with God’s help we walk with Jesus in the Kingdom with all that we do and say and have.
Here I am Lord, is it I, Lord?
I have heard You calling in the night.
I will go Lord, if You lead me.
I will hold Your people in my heart.
*Reference Isaiah 6, 1 Samuel 3, and Ezekiel 11 & 36 for just a few “here I am, Lord” stories from scripture.