When I wake up each morning, one of my favorite routines is to listen to hymns. Much like when I listen to our wonderful choir during worship, I find this particular routine to be inspirational and refreshing.
Recently, I have been listening a lot to a rather new hymn. “Here I am, Lord” (also known as: “I, the Lord of Sea and Sky”) was written in 1981 by Dan Schutte. It has become a very popular hymn worldwide, and is based on Isaiah 6:8 and 1 Samuel 3.
In the New International Version of the Bible, Isaiah 6:8 is written as follows:
“Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?’ And I said, ‘Here am I. Send me!'”
In the same version of the Bible, 1 Samuel 3, 1-10, is written as follows:
“The boy Samuel ministered before the LORD under Eli. In those days the word of the LORD was rare; there were not many visions. 2 One night Eli, whose eyes were becoming so weak that he could barely see, was lying down in his usual place. 3 The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the house of the LORD, where the ark of God was. 4 Then the LORD called Samuel. Samuel answered, ‘Here I am.’ 5 And he ran to Eli and said, ‘Here I am; you called me.’ But Eli said, ‘I did not call; go back and lie down.’ So he went and lay down. 6 Again the LORD called, ‘Samuel!’ And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, ‘Here I am; you called me.’ ‘My son,’ Eli said, ‘I did not call; go back and lie down.’ 7 Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD: The word of the LORD had not yet been revealed to him. 8 A third time the LORD called, ‘Samuel!’ And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, ‘Here I am; you called me.’ Then Eli realized that the LORD was calling the boy. 9 So Eli told Samuel, ‘Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, ‘Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.’’ So Samuel went and lay down in his place. 10 The LORD came and stood there, calling as at the other times, ‘Samuel! Samuel!’ Then Samuel said, “’Speak, for your servant is listening.’”
To me, these are some of the most powerful passages in the Bible. They speak to the development of one’s inner call and a deep, honest desire for service on behalf of the Lord. Through Mr. Schutte’s beautiful hymn, I am reminded each day that we cannot give enough of ourselves to help one other. I also am reminded that there is no preset template for service; it might be an encouraging smile or a kind word that is of most benefit.
By listening and watching with relaxed focus and without expectation, and by being willing to truly be vulnerable in front of the divine and the world around us, I think that God often “speaks” to us. How does God “speak” to you? Is there any music that inspires you to follow the path of the Lord? How do you feel that you are called to serve the world around you?
– Andrew Dutton