Winning Ways - from Hillcrest Baptist Church, Austin, Texas  Contact Tom Goodman, Pastor
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Here I Am
by Tom Goodman
July 30, 2008

I first heard the song in a mall.  Faintly above the din of shoppers' voices, I heard the voice of Emmylou Harris on the mall speakers...

I am standing by the river
I will be standing here forever
Though you're on the other side
My face you still can see
Why won't you look at me?

Here I am . . .
Here I am . . .

I stopped and got out of the flow of shoppers to hear more.  Clearly, this wasn't a typical love song.  I was hearing God calling out to Adam and Eve -- and their progeny:

I am in the blood of your heart
The breath of your lungs
Why do you run for cover?
You are from the dirt of the earth
And the kiss of my mouth
I have always been your lover.

Here I am . . .
Here I am . . .

I looked around the mall sure that someone else was hearing this, too.  But the crowds shuffled by unmindful of the call.  While they gazed in shop windows, licked dripping ice cream cones, talked to each other or messaged on their phones, the appeal continued:

I am the promise never broken
And my arms are ever open
In this harbor calm and still
I will wait until
Until you come to me

Here I am . . .
Here I am . . .

"I'm not a particularly religious person," Harris wrote about her song.  "But I thought, 'What must God be feeling when people just completely ignore Him?'"  She says that her musician friend, Julie Miller, inspired her to write the song.  Miller is a committed Christian and former Austinite.

Of course, mall music isn't meant to arrest shoppers' attention.  I normally don't catch the music played in the background at a shopping center, either.  But that day at the mall, as I looked around at people oblivious to this love song that had captured my attention -- God's love song to his children -- well, the whole experience took on a powerful symbolism.

Each believer has a story of how they heard that divine call above the noise and distractions of their lives.  We heard God say "Return to me!" and we gratefully responded.

Let me know the story of your return, or let me know how I can help you make that trip!  And listen to the Emmylou Harris song, "Here I Am," at this week's "Song of the Week" at my weblog.

Weblog:  In addition to the "Song of the Week" posted every Sunday, every Tuesday I post some entertaining and informative "Links to Your World."  This week, I've got reflections on The Dark Knight, Bobby Jindal, and Barack Obama, among other items.

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