“There is a wideness in God’s mercy”

Psalm 19, Isaiah 63:1-6, Hebrews 6:13 – 7:10

I had picked up an old copy of The Book of Common Prayer at a used bookstore.  It’s a nice little leatherbound book that also includes a hymnal at the back.  Mostly I use the first 20 pages of the prayer book to follow “The Order for Daily Morning Prayer” although I have definitely made it my own.  A few times I have branched into the Psalms (although I mostly my own Bible because I prefer that translation) and other prayers included there.

This morning, as I read Isaiah 63, I realized that this text was the inspiration for “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”.  I was quite that any hymnal for the use in the United States would include “The Battle Hymn” and found myself searching the hymnal but it wasn’t there.  Instead I found a treasure.

First Isaiah 63:3-4 —

3 “I have trodden the winepress alone,
and from the peoples no one was with me;
I trod them in my anger
and trampled them in my wrath;
their lifeblood spattered on my garments,
and stained all my apparel.
4 For the day of vengeance was in my heart,
and my year of redemption had come.

Now the first verse of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” —

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord:
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored;He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword:
His truth is marching on.

“The Battle Hymn of the Republic” is so rich in scriptural references, someone could almost do a whole study on it, but those are thoughts for another morning.

Now the treasure — As I searched for “The Battle Hymn” I found instead this hymn —

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 a welcome for the sinner,
And more graces for the good;
There is mercy with the Savior;
There is healing in His blood.

For the love of God is broader
Than the measure of our mind;
And the heart of the Eternal
Is most wonderfully kind.
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.

And I was smitten, once again, with God’s mercy, kindness and love.

Thank you, Lord!


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