"SEND THE LIGHT"
"…Come over into Macedonia, and help us" (Acts 16.9)
INTRO.: A song which uses the call of Paul’s vision in which a Macedonian asked him to come over and help them to encourage us to sound forth God’s message of salvation is "Send the Light" (#544 in Hymns for Worship Revised, and #563 in Sacred Selections for the Church). The text was written and the tune (McCabe) was composed both by Charles Hutchinson Gabriel (1856-1932). A prolific gospel song writer of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Gabriel provided words and or/music for a number of well known hymns such as "Come to the Feast," "Harvest Time," "Glory for Me," "God Is Calling the Prodigal," "He Lifted Me," "Higher Ground," "His Eye Is on the Sparrow," "I Stand Amazed," "An Evening Prayer," "Jesus, Rose of Sharon," "Where The Gates Swing Outward Never," "More Like the Master," "Only in Thee," "Only a Step," "Since Jesus Came Into My Heart," "I Will Not Forget Thee," "He Is So Precious to Me," and "The Way of the Cross Leads Home," among others. "Send the Light" was produced in 1890 while Gabriel was song director of the Grace Methodist Episcopal Church in San Francisco, CA, for the Sunday school there and first published in his 1891 Scripture Songs with the copyright owned by E. O. Excell. The song was also published that same year in The New Song for the Sunday School by George F. Rosche and Co. of Chicago, IL.
The refrain originally contained sixteen measures and began with a bass lead. The shortened version that is more familiar seems to have been made in 1894. The copyright was renewed in 1923. The original version, owned by George F. Rosche, was used in the 1938/1944 (New) Wonderful Songs for Work and Worship, edited by Thomas S.Cobb and G. H. P. Showalter, and published by the Firm Foundation Publishing House of Austin, TX. Among other hymnbooks published by members of the Lord’s church during the twentieth century for use in churches of Christ, the shorter version appeared in the 1921 Great Songs of the Church (No. 1) and the 1937 Great Songs of the Church No. 2 both edited by E. L. Jorgenson; the 1935 Christian Hymns (No. 1), the 1948 Christian Hymns No. 2, and the 1966 Christian Hymns No. 3 all edited by L. O. Sanderson; the 1963 Abiding Hymns edited by Robert C. Welch; and the 1963 Christian Hymnal edited by J. Nelson Slater. Today, it may be found in the 1971 Songs of the Church, the 1990 Songs of the Church 21st C. Ed., and the 1994 Songs of Faith and Praise all edited by Alton H. Howard; the 1978/1983 Church Gospel Songs and Hymns edited by V. E. Howard; the 1986 Great Songs Revised edited by Forrest M. McCann; and the 1992 Praise for the Lord edited by John P. Wiegand; in addition to Hymns for Worship, Sacred Selections, and the 2007 Sacred Songs of the Church edited by William D. Jeffcoat.
The song is intended to motivate us to do whatever we can to see that the word of God is proclaimed.
I. Stanza 1 emphasizes the need to save souls
"There’s a call come’s ringing o’er the restless wave, ‘Send the light! Send the light!’
There are souls to rescue, there are souls to save; Send the light! Send the light!"
A. The call that comes ringing is through the gospel: 2 Thess. 2.14
B. This call reminds us that souls need to be rescued because they are precious: Matt. 16.26
C. And because these precious souls have sinned, they need to be saved: Heb. 10.39
II. Stanza 2 emphasizes the need to give
"We have heard the Macedonian call today: ‘Send the light! Send the light!’
And a golden offering at the cross we lay; Send the light! Send the light!"
A. Just as Paul received a call from a man of Macedonia, so the gospel calls all Christians to shine the light out of darkness: 2 Cor. 4.6
B. While we should go where we can, no one individual can go everywhere, but all of us can give a "golden offering" so that those who can go to other places can be supported: Phil. 4.15-16
C. To lay this golden offering at the cross symbolizes our desire to give bountifully and cheerfully for the work of the Lord: 2 Cor. 9.6-7
III. Stanza 3 emphasizes the need to pray
"Let us pray that grace may everywhere abound; Send the light! Send the light!
And a Christ-like spirit everywhere be found; Send the light! Send the light!"
A. God’s people should pray, especially for those who are lost: Rom. 10.1
B. We should pray that through the preaching of the gospel grace may everywhere abound: Rom. 5.15-20
C. We should also pray that as the gospel is preached a Christ-like spirit will be found: Rom. 8.9
IV. Stanza 4 emphasizes the need to persevere
"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!"
A. In the work of sending the light, we must not grow weary: Gal. 6.9
B. We shall not grow weary if we remember that we are gathering up God’s jewels for Him: Mal. 3.17
C. It will also help us to persevere to recall that the jewels which we gather will also be our joy and crown: Phil. 4.1
CONCL.: The chorus urges us onward to let the light of the glorious gospel of Christ to shine everywhere.
"Send the light! the blessed gospel light! Let it shine from shore to shore.
Send the light! the blessed gospel light! Let it shine forevermore."
As was pointed out previously, each individual Christian cannot go everywhere to take the gospel. We can go into our own personal world of friends and acquaintances to share the message of salvation, and where we cannot go, we should do whatever else we can to "Send the Light."