"There's A Wideness In God's Mercy," ELW 588
There's a wideness in God's mercy,
like the wideness of the sea;
there's a kindness in God's justice
which is more than liberty.
There is no place where earth's sorrows
are more felt than up in heav'n.
There is no place where earth's failings
have such kindly judgment giv'n.
There is welcome for the sinner,
and a promised grace made good;
there is mercy with the Savior;
there is healing in his blood.
There is grace enough for thousands
of new worlds as great as this;
there is room for fresh creations
in that upper home of bliss.
For the love of God is broader
than the measures of our mind;
and the heart of the Eternal
is most wonderfully kind.
But we make this love too narrow
by false limits of our own;
and we magnify its strictness
with a zeal God will not own.
'Tis not all we owe to Jesus;
it is something more than all:
greater good because of evil,
larger mercy through the fall.
Make our love, O God, more faithful;
let us take you at your word,
and our lives will be thanksgiving
for the goodness of the Lord.
Frederick Faber (1814-1863) wrote some 150 hymns, including the familiar "My God, How Wonderful Thou Art," and "Faith of Our Fathers." In this hymn, "There's a Wideness in God's Mercy," Faber invites us to stretch our awareness of God's grace as far as imagination can take us--and then some. God's mercy is wider than wide, broader than broad. God's heart is most wonderfully kind. God's love spills out in welcoming grace.
The woman's faith in Sunday's gospel reading (Matthew 15:21-28.) waited out silence and rejection in pursuing healing for her daughter. She discovered that God's heart of love is not about to let go of anyone. A well-known story has a chaplain asking a patient going through a time of struggle, "Have you carried the Christian faith within yourself during your lifetime?" The reply came, "Yes, I believe I have." "Then," said the chaplain, "at this difficult point in your life, let the Christian faith carry you."
Lord Jesus, make us truly thankful that you have placed goodness and mercy at the heart of our universe. Amen.