Saturday, June 2, 2012

Shine Jesus Shine -- Graham Kendrick


Graham Kendrick was thinking about what it would be like to see something spread in 1987. Not just for a few yards or even a few miles. Not just temporarily, either. “Shine, Jesus, Shine” was his dream for his homeland in the British Isles. It ended up perhaps travelling more broadly than he expected, and it’s still being sung, so who knows how long it will endure. Its development wasn’t just a one-stop effort either, coming in fact over a months-long period. What’s that say about Him and me, and about how His purposes might be accomplished?


Graham Kendrick was born and lives in Britain’s Croydon, in South London, and has much more on his resume about evangelism than one song. The movement known as March for Jesus began in 1987, coinciding with the origin of “Shine, Jesus, Shine”. So, if one really wants to know about the song, look into this march. It began in just one place in the United Kingdom – London -- through the collaboration of three church groups. It was a modest beginning, with the first one called City March. If Kendrick’s song was written then, that should tell us that his vision for the march was rather confined, at least until maybe the song spoke of something more.  The song really is a prayer, asking the God-Son to do something only He can do. Kendrick says the three original verses were written first, with the chorus coming several months later. Look into the verses, versus the chorus, and something sticks out that suggests Kendrick’s vision, though limited at first, must have grown over that several month span. From a ‘City March’-type beginning, the song’s chorus mushrooms the evangelism into ‘nations’ where the message and person of Jesus could travel. By 1994, the march to spread Jesus’ name had gone into 170 nations, across all time zones, to millions of people. And, the song is widely used in hymnals throughout the world.


Shine, Jesus. He listens when someone asks Him to do that, but perhaps not the way we might expect. Graham Kendrick’s experience writing the song and organizing the March for Jesus tells a story. His light may be like the light He places in the sky. At dawn, I can look at it easily, without shades. It doesn’t seem like very much, and there may even still be shadows and dimness…turn on those headlights. But it grows, gradually, inexorably, so that its brilliant presence cannot be avoided. It might even burn you. Or, it can bring blessed warmth on a chilled day. That’s like Him. He will shine, if I ask Him to, just not all at once. Keep asking, and watch what He does!  

  

  
Information on the song was obtained from“The Complete Book of Hymns – Inspiring Stories About 600 Hymns and Praise Songs”, by William J. and Ardythe Petersen, 2006. 

See the following sites for information on the composer:


Also see the following, for background on the movement that perhaps inspired the song, or vice versa: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/March_for_Jesus

The song’s verses are here: http://www.grahamkendrick.co.uk/songs/lyrics/shine.php

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