This article is part of a series from our monthly newsletter written by Pastor Steve. Read more from the series by clicking the button below:
Shine, Jesus, Shine
Throughout this year, I will be spending time reflecting upon various hymns. We may not think about hymns as a way that we teach and pass on the faith, but the reality is that many of us can remember hymns a lot easier than memorizing scripture.
The hymn, Shine, Jesus, Shine is one of the more popular modern hymns. It was written by Graham Kendrick in 1987. Graham was born in the U.K. on August 2, 1950. His dad was a Baptist pastor in Laindon, Essex. Graham has always been involved within the church and has made a career from being a Christian singer and song-writer. He has been part of a couple of Christian bands, but mainly preformed solo in a variety of settings.
Within many churches, the hymn, Shine, Jesus, Shine is used during Epiphany (the season where we think and reflect upon how Jesus is made known in the world) and/or on Transfiguration Sunday (where we hear of Jesus going up to the mountain and is changed in appearance and becomes dazzling white and lights shines forth from him.
However, this was not the context behind why Graham wrote this hymn or the inspiration behind it.
Graham explains how the song came together…
“Bearing in mind the worldwide popularity of this song, perhaps the most surprising thing about the writing of it is the ordinariness of the circumstances. I had been thinking for some time about the holiness of God, and how that as a community of believers and as individuals, His desire is for us to live continually in his presence. My longing for revival in the Churches and spiritual awakening in the nation was growing, but also a recognition that we cannot stand in God’s presence without ‘clean hands and a pure heart’. So I wrote the three verses and ‘road tested’ it in my home church. Though there was clearly merit to the song, it seemed incomplete, so as I was unable at the time to take it any further, I put it back in the file. Several months later I was asked to submit new songs for a conference song book, and as I reviewed this three verse song I realized that it needed a chorus. I remember standing in my music room with guitar slung round my neck trying different approaches. The line ‘Shine Jesus Shine’ came to mind, and within about half an hour I had finished the chorus, all but some ‘polishing’. Though I felt an excitement in my spirit at the time, I had no inkling at all that it would become so widely used. There were other songs I rated more highly at the time that most people have never heard of!” (from website grahamkendrick.co.uk)
From the song-writer’s thoughts it seems clear that this hymn connects with Jesus’ saying that he is the light of the world. We sing Shine Jesus Shine fill this land with the Father’s glory. Blaze, Spirit, Blaze. Set our hearts on fire, Flow, River, Flow flood the nations with grace and mercy. Send forth your word Lord and let there be light. This chorus calls to mind that Jesus’ light goes forth and we pray that it would fill our world. Then it prays that the Spirit would come upon us and set our hearts of fire (that revival would come) and send us out into the world so that we could be used as instruments of God’s love and grace so that people would hear and experience God’s word in action and the light of Christ continually shine forth.
When you sing this hymn, it should lead us to the question about where is God calling us to be his hands and feet in the world to let the light of Christ shine? May our prayer be Shine, Jesus, Shine.