In the course of her life, Margaret Clarkson became intimately acquainted with pain. She suffered initially with “migraines, accompanied by convulsive vomiting, and then arthritis—two ailments that accompanied her continually. In Destined for Glory, she related sadly that her mother told her that her first words were ‘my head hurts.’ At age three …she contracted juvenile arthritis and became bed bound. She recalled the pain as well as the bald spot worn on the back of her head from lying in bed so long.” …And that was just the beginning of a difficult life of loneliness, financial strain and disappointment. Through it all, Clarkson also developed an intimacy with God, and a transformative perspective on Christian ministry. Her hymn “So Send I You” has been called the greatest missionary hymn of the twentieth century.
“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 wandering 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 heart a-hungering 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 ambitions,
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.
“As the Father has sent me,
So send I you.”
“So Send I You” by Margaret Clarkson
“But we confess…
we love you imperfectly;
we love you with a divided heart,
with a thousand other loves
that are more compelling,
with reservation and qualification,
and passion withheld and
“As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you.”
Jesus in John 20:21
Moving From Head to Heart
- I was trying to imagine how this hymn would be received in church today. Can you?
- “To leave your life’s ambitions, to die to dear desire, self-will resign, to labor long and love where men revile you”–is there room in our idea of ministry for this today? What emotions do these words stir up in you?
- Are we hoping to be useful to God “with passion withheld and devotion impaired”–as “a privileged people?”
Abba, may I give myself for you, as you gave yourself for me–without reservation.
For More: Prayers for a Privileged People by Walter Brueggemann
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