Monday, March 15, 2010

There's a wideness in God's mercy

Courtesy of Scott at Seven Whole Days, I'm getting a hymn for each day of Lent that relates one way or another to the reading of the day. "There's a wideness in God's mercy" was the hymn for yesterday when the story of the prodigal son was the gospel of the day.

One of the great things Scott is doing is giving all the original verses and exploring different hymn tunes. I personally love the contemporary setting of "Wideness" in the hymnal and wish we sang it more often. The more familiar tune is, shall we say, a bit of a clunker.

I hadn't realized how much was missing of the original text in both of these settings, or how much the original text had been mixed and matched to fit the tune. What a pity that one of the verses that got left out was this one:

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.

How different our church would be if this verse had worked its way into our collective understanding. Though you'd think Jesus' teachings might be enough. Seems that was kind of a theme, there. Somehow it's more catchy when you set it to music.

I had never thought to pair this hymn with the prodigal son before now, but when you see the whole text, it really is quite perfect.

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