Today marks one year since I wrote “There’s a Wideness in God’s Mercy”.
I have Kurt Willems to thank for blogging & tweeting a picture of this wonderful old hymn written in by Frederick Faber. In his blog he referred to it as the hymn version of Rob Bell’s book “Love Wins” which I had read a while ago & really enjoyed.
I wrote the music to the lyrics so fast that I second guessed whether it was any good & it took me a few months to play to it anyone. One night when we were shooting videos with Songwriting Guild for the Guild Collective event it got to my turn & I hadn’t thought about what I was going to record. I hastily showed my wife all the verses (TWELVE?!) to the old hymn, we decided which ones should stay & I cut the video two minutes later. This was three months after I had written the song & the first time I’d played it to anyone. Here’s that version with my very tired voice:
Based on the feedback from the guild we started playing it in church & it became an anthem for the conversation around inclusivity at Forefront Brooklyn. Here’s a live version with myself on keys & vocals, Robbie Klein on bass, Morgan Karabel on drums and Lindsey Luff on backing vocals:
Since then it has traveled around churches and conferences from Baltimore to Minneapolis.
I will be recording a studio version of this sometime this year. Subscribe to the mailing list or follow me on social media to hear more updates about that!
In the meantime I’d be interested hearing if you’ve used this hymn in your church at all or if you have used this text as part of your meditation practice and how these lyrics might have impacted your faith.
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 welcome for the sinner,
And more graces for the good;
There is mercy with the Savior;
There is healing in His blood.
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.
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.
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?
For the love of God is broader
Than our minds;
And the heart of the Eternal
Is most wonderfully kind.
Amen Amen Amen Amen