To Sing of Mission(s)


Christian missions and the Victorian era seem to be forever linked in people’s minds. Whether Stanley’s “Doctor Livingstone, I presume,” or just a vague cultural recognition of crosses and pith helmets- missions captures our imagination.

But these 19th Century saints were driven by more than a desire to discover exotic lands. They say themselves as heirs of what has been referred to as Paul’s “Macedonian Call:”

” And they went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia.  And when they had come up to Mysia, they attempted to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them. So, passing by Mysia, they went down to Troas.  And a vision appeared to Paul in the night: a man of Macedonia was standing there, urging him and saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” And when Paul had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go on into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them (Acts 16:6-10 ESV).”

They felt “the call” to preach the gospel! They saw the great commission (Matthew 28:19-20) as a personal instruction: “Go ye means go me.”

The church music of this era reflects the urgency of that call. Charles H. Gabriel’s Send the Light is a great exampleIt reads in part – “We have heard the Macedonian call today,
“Send the light! Send the light!” And a golden off’ring at the cross we lay, Send the light! Send the light!” They heard the call, they were prepared to make the offering of themselves. And why? Gabriel explains it -“Let us not grow weary in the work of love,
“Send the light! Send the light!” Let us gather jewels for a crown above,
Send the light! Send the light!”  It is a work of love and it is putting ones heart where one’s treasure is – and that is in heaven.

Shall we send the light today?  The challenge and mission wasn’t just for the Victorians.


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