Our Number 1 Hymn: Here I Am Lord
Our Number One Hymn!
"Here I Am, Lord"
The United Methodist Hymnal, No. 593
A salient feature of Catholic renewal hymnody since the Second Vatican Council is a stirring and memorable refrain. “Here I Am, Lord” recalls immediately Isaiah 6:8: “Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?’ And I said, ‘Here am I; send me!’”
An unusual attribute of this hymn is the change in point of view that the singer makes between the stanzas and the refrain. The stanzas speak from the perspective of God in the first person singular, while the refrain, though remaining in first person, is from the perspective of the singers of the hymn offering their lives to God.
Each stanza reflects a paradox. The powerful God, creator of “sea and sky,” “snow and rain” and “wind and flame” is also the God who hears the “people cry,” bears the “people’s pain” and “tend[s] the poor and lame.”
This is a hymn of transformation. God transforms the darkness into light in stanza one, melts “hearts of stone” with love in stanza two and nourishes the “poor and lame” with the “finest bread”—a clear Eucharistic reference.