8 Then I heard the Lord asking, “Whom should I send as a messenger to this people? Who will go for us?” I said, “Here I am. Send me.” isaiah 6:8
as a child and teenager attending christian summer camp i sang the song 'here i am lord' no less than a few hundred times. it was a tried and true favourite of most staff members, and many campers. it was the perfect speed for communion time on a sunday night, with the lights low and small faces lit up by flickering candlelight. in the bible we see again and again as the lord calls out and asks who can i send? and time and again we see people say - send me, god.
the chorus of the song reads:
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.
i remember singing that song with enormous conviction as a teenager, but not really appreciating what it could mean, what i was committing myself to. at the time i was probably thinking it meant that i might go and work in a developing nation, that i needed to study to do so. i was probably thinking it had something to do with where i was going to study. and one night particularly i can remember singing the song, sitting cross-legged on the worn wooden floor of the camp chapel, my back against an old bench, the others leading worship with me taking harmonies, i can remember feeling very much like i was in that space that summer to love on the teenagers i was working with, to hold them in my heart.
and so i suppose what i've now realised years later. is that going sometimes means 'going' i did work in a developing country and study a subject that was related. i've also lived and worked abroad for the majority of my adult life. but, i've put down roots, i've made friends and god has blessed me with a great and loving community. a community that is filled with people, who's joys and sadnesses are my great gain to share. i am still learning how to hold them in my heart. what i've realised is that we are part of an apostolic church, a church that is sent into the world to preach the good news of the cross. and sometimes going, means staying right where you are.