STLT#213, There’s a Wideness in Your Mercy

There’s a special announcement at the end of this post – but you have read it first. No cheating! (Like I’d notice, but really, what fun would it be? Especially since there’s a good hymn to talk about!)

This hymn, y’all. It’s not the most lush or most poetic, but don’t let aesthetics get in the way of an incredibly important message: STOP LIMITING GOD.

I know that it’s an easy trap for all of us – me included – to fall into. It’s what kept me from talking to God for over a decade, figuring that God was prey to human whims and conditions. But the day I realized, sobbing in my car with my snoring then-boyfriend in the passenger seat, that God speaks without limits, through all of creation, and loves abundantly, more abundantly than seven billion humans could begin to conceive – that day was a lightning bolt. If I were a 16th century German monk, I’d have fallen off my horse, it was that strong.

And even in the lyrics (by Frederick William Faber), the metaphors trying to help us understand the expansiveness are limited – “like the wideness of the sea” is a nice start and infinitely more imaginable than is the wideness of the Divine. But I venture that like me, standing on the shore of an ocean reminds you of that expansive, infinite whatever-it-is that is so much bigger than us.

There’s a wideness in your mercy like the wideness of the sea;
there’s a kindness in your justice which is more than liberty.

But we make your love too narrow by false limits of our own,
and we magnify your strictness with a zeal you will not own.

For the love of God is broader than the measures of our minds
and the heart of the Eternal is most wonderfully kind.

I needed this hymn today. Those days when it’s rainy and dark, when the to do list is so long you have several of them cross referenced to keep track, when exhaustion and allergies and the unrelenting sadness and anger of the times beats down. Those days, a hymn like this, with its Sacred Harmony lilt, gets inside and pulls me out of the funk, at least for a moment, as I remember how wide, merciful, kind, and loving the Divine truly is.


And now, the announcement: I love engaging with you all in comments here and Facebook, and I thought it would be fun to engage in person… click here to learn more!

And…today’s image is from the Hubble – the Tarantula Nebula. Infinite indeed.

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