I am indebted for this idea to Fraser Pearce who suggested to me about 10 years ago that Dan Schutte was far less than faithful to the original meaning of Isaiah’s vision in Isaiah 6 when he wrote “Here I am, Lord.” It is worth looking this chapter up in your copy of the scriptures and comparing it to the text of Schutte’s song. Had he been paying attention to the actual words of scripture, his song would have turned out something rather more like this:
Here I am, Lord,
is it I, Lord?
I have heard you calling in the night.
I shall go, Lord, where you lead me.
I will hold your people in my heart.
“To this people, go and say:
look and listen, hear and see,
but you will not comprehend,
Stop their ears and dull their mind,
shut their eyes and make them blind,
so that they can’t turn to me,
turn to be healed.”
How long shall I preach this word?
“Preach until you have been heard!
‘Til I send them far away,
‘til end of days,
‘til the cities lie in waste,
burned down once, and once again,
like the stumps of fallen trees,
a holy seed.”
However, I rather suspect that such a song would not have been the overnight hit that Schutte’s rather more saccharin version was. I often think poor ol’ Isaiah was like the kid in school who puts his hand up eagerly to volunteer for a job before he knows that he is volunteering to take the trash out…