Reformation Lutheran Church A Congregation of the ELCA

Thursday, March 19

Dallas Rakestraw

Here I Am, Lord

I recently watched Netflix’s The Two Popes. The movie tells the story of the relationship between Pope Benedict XVI and Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, the future Pope Francis. Through strong dialogue and excellent acting, the film humanizes two individuals thrust into the position of pope and saddled with everyone’s individual expectations of a “good pope.” Benedict and Francis are real people trying to do their best in their positions.

 

One scene in the film struck me; it continues to rattle around my mind. In it, Pope Benedict tells Cardinal Bergoglio he has decided to step down as Pope. When Cardinal Bergoglio objects to this plan, Pope Benedict confesses a silence in his relationship with God. All his life he has known, felt, and heard God. As a result, he has never felt alone. But recently, he confides, he cannot hear God. He reflects on this predicament, and he concludes he should step down. Upon reaching this decision, he again hears God. Hence, he knows his decision is sound.

 

I imagine most of us do not have the relationship with God Pope Benedict describes. (These were after all lines from a movie.) But that does not negate God’s presence. In the hymn Here I Am, the verses and refrain represent a responsive dialogue between God and an individual. God repeatedly proclaims God’s identity, the promises God makes to the chosen people, and the desire for a messenger to share God’s message. In the chorus, the individual hears God, accepts the role of messenger, and promises to hold God’s people in his or her heart.

 

Admittedly, I love this hymn. Each time I hear it, I think of the story of Samuel. God calls out to a young Samuel in the night. Three times, Samuel mistakes God’s call for the words of Eli, an old priest. Finally, after Eli’s realization and advice, Samuel responds to the Lord and accepts his mission. He does not seek out this job. Rather, God the constant finds him and assigns the task.

 

My love for this hymn goes deeper then Bible trivia. This song, as simple as it may sound, is one of the reasons I decided to pursue training as a Parish Ministry Associate. I have always felt in my soul God was speaking to me personally in this song, charging me with instructions to serve. In response, all I can say is, “here I am.” Hence, the song really is a dialogue between God and me, other singers just make it sound bette

 

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