"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!'"
I had the opportunity to attend mass twice this weekend, which meant that twice I got to hear the wonderful hymn "Here I am, Lord" by Daniel L. Schutte:
"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."
That song is so beautiful and uplifting and a perfect example of how good liturgical music can bring scripture to life and rouse a congregation to prayer and action. After hearing that song, I always want to go out and serve God.
Isaiah responded to God's call with enthusiasm, "Send me!" When God calls us, do we respond with equal enthusiasm? I know there are times when God's call comes and I look around searching for someone else to answer. "Surely, God, you weren't looking for me. There has to be someone else better around here. Someone without kids. Someone with more time on her hands. Someone with better gifts." And my list of excuses goes on.
Unlike in scripture, where God's call is direct and not likely to be misunderstood, God's calls today usually comes through other people in much more subtle ways. The only call I am likely to get in the middle of the night is one from my children calling me to tuck them in, or comfort them after a bad dream, or fix a runny nose. Yet, those are calls from God - calls to serve. God's call may come from a parent at my child's school who asks me to help out with a special project, or from the Director of Religious Education asking me to help out with CCD. God's call may come in a supermarket with an elderly person asking for assistance to reach something on a high shelf. It may come in a neighbor's driveway that needs shoveling, or from a friend who needs help with childcare.
God calls us in so many ways every day. Some calls are large and require us to change everything about our lives to answer. Those calls ask us to say "yes" to serving God in a religious vocation or in a new career path or in a new child. But most calls are of a much smaller variety. There are people all around us who need our help. We don't need to look very far to find ways of serving God and "holding his people in our heart." God is calling. Will we answer with Isaiah's conviction? "Here I am, Lord. Send me!"