Tuesday, March 16, 2010

So Send I You

Since my parents were missionaries and since I am a missionary, I have heard a lot of missionary songs sung in churches all across America.  Some of them I enjoy singing and some of them I really don't like.

One that was/is at the top of the "Don't Like" list, was/is So Send I You by Margaret Clarkson.  It goes like this:

So send I you to labor unrewarded,
To serve unpaid, unloved, unsought, unknown.
To bear rebuke, to suffer scorn and scoffing,
So send I you to toil for me alone.

So send I you to bind the bruised and broken,
O'er wand'ring souls to work, to weep, to wake.
To bear the burdens of a world a-weary,
So send I you to suffer for my sake.

So send I you to loneliness and longing,
With a heart hung'ring for the loved and known,
Forsaking home and kindred, friend and dear one,
So send I you to know my love alone.

So send I you to leave your life's ambition,
To die to dear desire, self will resign,
To labor long, and love where men revile you,
So send I you to lose your life in Mine.

So send I you to hearts made hard by hatred,
To eyes made blind because they will not see,
To spend, though it be blood, to spend and spare not,
So send I you to taste of Calvary.

As the Father has sent Me,
So send I you.

There are parts of the song that are good, but I have always thought it was terribly depressing.  I mean, when that is sung at the end of the service, who is going to volunteer to go?  As a kid and then as an adult, I realized that being a missionary isn't EASY, but it isn't AWFUL, either!  Things don't always go right and there are deep discouragements and disappointments, but it is rewarding, too.  So whenever that song is announced in a meeting, I just cringe.

Then in January we were at a church in Virginia and they sang that song, but a different version of it.  This version goes like this:

So send I you, by grace made strong to triumph,
O'er hosts of hell, o'er darkness, death, and sin,
My name to bear and in that name to conquer,
So send I you, My victory to win.

So send I you, to take to souls in bondage,
The word of truth that sets the captive free,
To break the bonds of sin, to loose death's fetters,
So send I you, to bring the lost to Me.

So send I you, My strength to know in weakness,
My joy in grief, My perfect peace in pain,
To prove My power, My grace, My promised presence,
So send I you, eternal fruit to gain.

So send I you, to bear My cross with patience,
And then one day, with joy to lay it down,
To hear My voice, "Well done, My faithful servant,
Come share My Throne, My Kingdom, and My crown!"

As the Father hath sent me,
So send I you!

Wow!  What an improvement.  I wondered who had penned the lyrics for the 2nd song.  It is a much more realistic viewpoint....sure it isn't easy, but it's a privilege and therefore a joy.

So I did some research and you won't believe this, but the 2nd version was also written by Margaret Clarkson!  Come to find out, Margaret suffered her entire life with severe migraines and arthritis.  Her first words to her mother were, "My head hurts."  In addition to that, her parents divorced when she was 12...that would have been in the 1930's and would have been a very shameful thing for a child at that point in time.  As a young woman, she got a teaching job in the lumber camps in Ontario and that is when she penned the first version of the song.  She found herself alone in the wilderness, a devoutly religious girl in a world of rough lumberjacks, facing a life of singleness, and constantly in pain.  Later in her life, as God replaced much of her legalism with His grace, she realized the hymn was one-sided and re-wrote it to be a more biblical hymn that reflected the trials and the joys of the call of God on the lives of His children.  Margaret continued to be racked by pain her entire life, but she learned "that during long hours of solitude and weakness, repeating hymns and Scriptures...could help...withstand the ravages of pain."  It turns out that Margaret was a prolific writer who continued to teach school until her early retirement due to her illness.  If you would like to read more about Margaret's life, you can find her story here.  

I thought this story was a really cool example of how God changes our attitudes and our hearts when we let Him.  It encouraged me that if I have messed up, He is still working.

Perhaps you have never heard this song.  I don't particularly like this youtube version, but it was the best I could find.  I would encourage you to listen to it if you never have.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MSNnFLVrgbc



5 comments:

podso said...

I tried to find So Send I you in the cyberhymnal, where an organ plays the song but could not get it working right. I love this story and remember this song not being a favorite of mine either. I may want to use this in Int....could I? !!!

Mommy Becoming said...

That's a really neat story. I could never stand that song either. I much prefer the new and improved version!

Amanda said...

Wow, so interesting. I've not heard this song before but it was a great one to learn the history of.

Dusty Penguin said...

Wow. I felt the same way about the song, and how meaningful now to know the story behind it. I wish that all hymnals would include the re-written version. What a wonderful story. Thank you for finding and sharing it. I am very moved.

Tim and Richelle said...

how awesome! thanks for sharing this story.