"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead" 1 Peter 1:3. Mercy - compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one's power to punish or harm. God's mercy - not giving us what we really deserve. "But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ . Ephesians 2: 4,5. We recently spent several days at the ocean just relaxing and watching the tides roll in and then out again. We speculated as to how much of the ocean we could really see until the curvature of the earth ended our view. It was fascinating to realize that even on a clear day we could only see so very little of the immense ocean. As we watched the words of this week's hymn choice came to my mind ... "There's a wideness in God's mercy, like the wideness of the sea." What undeserved riches we have because of God's mercy. Psalm 103:11, "For as the heavens are high above the earth, So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him." Frederick Faber (1814-1863) was born an Anglican and reared a strict Calvinist. After attending Oxford, he took orders as an Anglican priest and began his ministry as a rector. Faber converted to Catholicism and by the time he died, he had written 150 hymns. Knowing the power of hymns in the Protestant tradition, Faber wanted to make hymn-singing more important in the Catholic tradition. This hymn originally had eight verses but later five additional verses were added. Most modern hymnbooks only carry four verses and in some cases some of these verses are combinations of parts of other verses. It has also been sung to several different melodies. I've chosen to list the four verses that appear in most recent hymnals as well as the melody that is used in most protestant hymnals. As you meditate upon these words this week, I pray that you, too, might be reminded of God's great mercy that we certainly do not deserve. Romans 5:8 reminds us that "while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." He bore the penalty that we deserved. Psalm 86:5 "For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive, And abundant in mercy to all those who call upon You." Psalm 23:6, "Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life."
(1) There's a wideness in God's mercy,
Like the wideness of the sea;
There's a kindness in His justice,
Which is more than liberty.
(2) There is welcome for the sinner,
And more graces for the good;
There is mercy with the Savior;
There is healing in His blood.
(3) For the love of God is broader
Than the measure of man'a mind;
And the heart of the Eternal
Is most wonderfully kind.
(4) If our love were but more simple,
We should take Him at His word;
And our lives would be all sunshine
In the sweetness of our Lord.
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