Hymn for Lent (Day 26): There’s a wideness in God’s mercy
This will be our closing hymn tomorrow at Christ Church. Alas, we’re stuck singing it to Beecher, the very definition of a lamentable tune. The Hymnal 1982 also offers a wonderful tune by Calvin Hampton, but it’s less popular. Brits usually sing the text with a lovely tune by Maurice Bevan, found in the video, below. Note the extra verses here; British folk are used the singing the one which begins with “But we make [God’s] love too narrow…” It’s quite good.
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.
There is no place where earth’s sorrows
Are more felt than up in Heaven;
There is no place where earth’s failings
Have such kindly judgment given.
There is welcome for the sinner,
And more graces for the 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 measure of our mind;
And the heart of the Eternal
Is most wonderfully kind.
There is plentiful redemption
In the blood that has been shed;
There is joy for all the members
In the sorrows of the Head.
’Tis not all we owe to Jesus;
It is something more than all;
Greater good because of evil,
Larger mercy through the fall.
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.
Souls of men! why will ye scatter
Like a crowd of frightened sheep?
Foolish hearts! why will ye wander
From a love so true and deep?
It is God: His love looks mighty,
But is mightier than it seems;
’Tis our Father: and His fondness
Goes far out beyond our dreams.
But we make His love too narrow
By false limits of our own;
And we magnify His strictness
With a zeal He will not own.
Was there ever kinder shepherd
Half so gentle, half so sweet,
As the Savior who would have us
Come and gather at His feet?
Words: Frederick W. Faber, Oratory Hymns, 1854.
This video (from an Episcopal Church) offers a fine rendition of the text sung to Corvedale by Maurice Bevan.
UPDATE: I managed to forget the video link to Corvedale, until Laura pointed that out. Fixed.