How many times have you sung the church song, “Here I Am, Lord”? If you grew up Catholic and are around my age (still 50!), the answer is more than you can count. The song that quotes various verses of Scripture is sung using guitar, piano, or organ, by cantors and choirs, in traditional and modern churches. It is truly a Catholic greatest hit of the modern Church. The question is how many times when singing the refrain have you really taken to heart what you were singing?
“Here I am, Lord; is it I, Lord? I have heard you calling in the night.” Like the biblical figure Samuel, we are responding to the call of God by asking for clarification that we are indeed the one being called. We then follow up the question with a profound statement: “I will go if You lead me.” It is profound because we are pledging to our God that we are willing to go wherever He wants. We are accepting the challenge put forth in the U.S. Bishops’ pastoral letter, “Stewardship: A Disciple’s Response,” to become mature disciples who respond to the call of Jesus Christ regardless of the cost. We have sung this pledge repeatedly for many years.
We never have any idea what God will call us to do and where to go. Sometimes the request can ask us for quite a lot. Hopefully, we respond like a mature disciple. If not, maybe we should reflect more the next time this song is played. The melody will not allow for the words, “I will see if I am busy and then decide to go if you lead me.” Then again, I don’t want to sing that to God, the source of all life anyway. Do you?
Tracy Earl Welliver is a Catholic author, speaker, consultant, and Gallup-certified Strengths coach with over 25 years experience in parish ministry. He is currently the Director of Parish Community and Engagement for LPI where he manages the company’s coaching and consulting efforts. Tracy also currently sits on the ICSC Board of Directors and is a Gallup-certified Strengths coach. He has spoken on and coached dioceses, parishes, and individuals on stewardship, engagement, Strengths, and discipleship all over North America, Australia, and New Zealand.