When I was a teenager, the hymn “So Send I You” was sung sometimes when a missionary was there to speak at a service or, more often, at a service when the emphasis was a call to “full-time” Christian ministry. I didn’t think the lyrics were depressing at the time: they just seemed like a serious and sober look at a calling that would probably be hard. But they do seem to emphasis the hardships and neglect the joys:
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 aweary-
So send I you to suffer for My sake.
So send I you to loneliness and longing,
With heart ahung’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, tho’ it be blood, to spend and spare not-
So send I you to taste of Calvary.
As the Father hath sent Me, so send I you.
Evidently the author, Margaret Clarkson, eventually recognized the lack of balance in the hymn and penned new lyrics later in her life.
She was born into an unhappy home, was bed-bound with juvenile arthritis when she was three, and suffered migraines and vomiting. Pain was a constant companion, but she was able to attend school and become a teacher. She couldn’t find a position until she accepted one at an isolated mining camp, where general loneliness was a factor, but spiritual loneliness especially overshadowed her as she said she had no real Christian fellowship for about seven years. “So Send I You” was written at this time, colored by her loneliness and pain, and probably pretty accurate for her circumstances at the time.
Some years later, though still battling pain, she found other teaching positions and began having her writing published. She came to believe “So Send I You” was one-sided, and wrote new lyrics that she felt were more biblically balanced between the trials and joys of the Christian life under-girded by God’s grace:
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.”
It does make a difference where our focus is.
There is a nice slideshow of Margaret’s life here.
I found a simple but nice rendition of the new lyrics here:
I had wanted to include this in the 31 Days of Missionary Stories, but ran out of days. 🙂 I hope it’s a blessing to you.