My aunt, Lucile Meyer, passed away one year ago today. She and my mom, Jeanette, were the only girls in a family of eight kids raised during the Depression. They lived on a farm and if they felt great deprivation, mom never talked about it. Could be that we were luckier here in St. Charles County than in other parts of the country. Mom and Lucile were only fifteen months apart in age and being the only two girls, were very close. After mom died in 1987, Aunt Lucile kind of took me under her wing as though I was one of her own girls, of which she had three.
During my last semester of college, I had to take a Humanities class for my degree, so I chose the class “Bible as Literature”. In this class, we read the Old Testament, using the Jewish Study Bible. I found this class fastinating and even though I had been raised in a parochial grade school, I read things in the Bible that I never knew were there. Each week, we were assigned at least one chapter in the Old Testament and were required to write a paper on anything in that chapter that had meaning to us. When it came to the chapter of Isaiah, it was easy for me to choose my topic.
Isaiah Chapter 6:1-9
As I continued to read this chapter, I was delighted to see the familiar words in verse 8: “Then I heard the voice of my Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?’ And I said, “here am I; send me”. I belong to the choir at Our Savior Lutheran Church and we are blessed to have a choir director who chooses some of the most beautiful music for us to sing. One of these songs was Don Schutte’s “Here I am Lord” which is based on this verse and 1 Samuel 3.
In 1 Samuel 3, the Lord calls to a young Samuel in his sleep. The Lord calls out to Samuel and he answers “I’m coming”. He runs to Eli thinking it was Eli who called him. Eli tells Samuel he did not call him and tells him to go back to sleep. The Lord calls Samuel a second time; he goes running to Eli, again thinking that Eli was calling to him and again Eli tells Samuel, it was not he who called him. The Lord calls Samuel a third time, Samuel again runs to Eli and answers “Here I am; you called me”. When Eli tells Samuel it was not he who had called, Samuel realizes it was the Lord.
The song written from these passages will always hold a special place in my heart. One evening I was sitting in the parking lot of Walmart talking on the phone to my elderly aunt, my mother’s sister. She has been like a mother to me since my mother died in 1987. She is in poor health but her mind is sharp. She has a profound faith and for many, many years she played the organ at her church. We were discussing choir music and she started talking about what songs she would like sung at her funeral, one of which was “Here I Am Lord”. By this time, of course, I was crying but somehow, we both started singing the song together. Imagine, sitting in your car, in the Walmart parking lot, with the phone up to your ear, crying and singing. It must have been a strange sight for anyone to see. Aunt Lucile said she didn’t know what good it would do for God to call her now (because she was in such poor health) and I remember telling her she had answered His call many years ago.
As Aunt Lucile requested, we did sing “Here I Am Lord” at her funeral. Here is a beautiful version (This isn’t my choir).