Here I Am Lord

Reflection for the 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time by FAN Executive Director, Patrick Carolan

This reflection was originally posted in our February 4th newsletter

We often think that the term ordinary means something that’s not very special, it is just kind of ‘run of the mill’. Because of this, people sometimes think that the period in our liturgical calendar known as Ordinary Time refers to a period in the Church that is unimportant. In fact the word “ordinary” comes from the Latin word “ordo” which means “order.” Ordinary Time is the time to reflect more deeply on the life of Jesus and what it means to follow him.

Our first reading this Sunday is from Isaiah 6. In it Isaiah says: “Woe is me, I am doomed! For I am a man of unclean lips, living among a people of unclean lips;” Isaiah goes on to say: “He touched my mouth with it, and said, ‘See, now that this has touched your lips, your wickedness is removed, your sin purged.’” Isaiah was symbolically purified of sin in preparation for his mission as God’s prophet. The reading ends with: “Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?’ “Here I am, I said; send me!”

One of my favorite Christian songs is Here I am Lord, written by Dan Schutte. He wrote it over 30 years ago in response to a request to have a new piece of music ready for the ordination of some new deacons. Some of the lines in the song are:
“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.”

People sometimes spend a great deal of time discerning the question, what is God calling me to do? Yet by our Baptismal Rite we are all called to be “priests, prophets, and kings.” I think some folks take that too literally. Presidents Trump’s press secretary Sarah Sanders recently said that God chose Mr. Trump to be President. Others like Rev. Franklin Graham have made the same claim. Of course in 2015, when the presidential campaign started, Gov. Rick Perry from Texas had a large group of Christian ministers who proclaimed that God had chosen him to be president. Sarah Sanders’ father, Mike Huckabee also claimed that God had ordained him to be president.

I am pretty sure that when Isaiah said “Here I am Lord send me” that is not what he meant. Being the first, the best, the highest in the land is not what the prophet Isaiah envisioned. That’s not even the most important phrase of the song, in my opinion. The key phrase in the song is the last one, which gives us the direction: “I will hold Your people in my heart.” Perhaps, instead of discerning what God is calling us to do, maybe we should consider how we hold God’s people in our hearts.

Patrick Carolan
FAN Executive Director

Published in: on February 5, 2019 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

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