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HYMN FOR PENTECOST 7 Here am I, Lord

Updated: Jul 2

Text and tune: Daniel Schutte

(For copyright reasons I cannot print the text for this hymn)

Jesus sending out the disciples two by two. James Tissot

REFLECTION

Here we see Jesus making disciples as he promised he would when he called them to follow him. Georg Sverdrup, the President of Augsburg Seminary in the last years of the 19th century, preached a sermon on the call to being fishers of people that I found clarifying. When Jesus says he will “make” his disciples into missionaries, he was aware that these men probably did not have the qualities for missionaries that bureaucrats might prefer. Now we see him teaching them to be missionaries. These instructions are clear: Take nothing of this world with you, when you find a place that welcomes you, stay in that place and don’t move around, and if you find the place inhospitable, leave and follow a small ritual known to the Jewish people of shaking off foreign dust as they came home from a strange place.

 

They come back to him amazed at what they were able to do. They were given power to heal and cast out demons! It astonished them. The power, however, was not theirs—it was the Lord’s. We should never go out to do mission work without the assurance that what we are bringing with us is not our own, but gifts from the Lord’s word and power.

 

We see at the beginning of the lesson how difficult it is even for Jesus to do much work around people who are sceptical of him. They know his family of origin, they think and dismiss him. In a way, when Jesus leaves behind his home town, he teaches his disciples how to leave a place where people do not welcome them.

 

Any of us, no matter our meager powers, can say with this hymn, “Here am I, Lord, send me.” We can trust the Lord to give us what we need. Wherever he sends us, we will be equpped, whether it is far off, next door or in the family. What the song says, and what we believe, is that because of the Lord’s good gifts to us, we can trust that he will send us wherever he judges we can carry out his mission best. After all, he is the Lord of sea and sky. And can open up the way for his word in places we cannot imagine. Make us faithful and willing, Lord Jesus!

 

HYMN INFO

Dan Schutte

Schutte was born in Neenah, Wisconsin, and went to Jesuit schools. He entered the Society of Jesus in the 1970s, where he began working with a singing group, The St. Louis Jesuits. They wrote English songs for Catholics who were just beginning to worship in English. His group composed many new songs, but this is by far the most popular. He left the order in 1986, but continued to compose and write songs for worship. He is now Composer-in-Residence at the University of San Francisco.

 

Schutte’s hymn is second on lists of favorite songs from the 1990s after “On Eagle’s Wings.” In writing it he uses the story of Samuel hearing the call of God, adding the verse from Isaiah 6:8, "Here am I, send me." He wrote it quickly while suffering from the flu. He had been asked by a friend to write something for a deacon's ordination service. Starting on Wednesday, he fussed with it until just before the service that weekend when he delivered it to the friend in time to be sung. The rest is history, as they say. It spoke to that group and quickly spread around the world. It is a blessing to watch young people on the links below singing it, their eyes shining with hope and commitment, their future before them. The choral arrangement by Ovid Young (1940-2014) has made it something of a standard for college choirs.

 

LINKS

Dan Schutte singing

 

National Youth Choir of Scotland

 

Luther College Cathedral Choir, Ovid Young’s arrangement/look at their faces!

 

Gustavus College Choir/Ovid Young's arrangement

 

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