“There’s a Wideness in God’s Mercy” ELW 588
1 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 heav’n.
There is no place where earth’s failings Have kindly judgment giv’n.
2 There is a welcome for the sinner, And a promised grace made good;
There is a 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.
3 For the love of God is broader Than the measures 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.
4 ‘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 the Lord.
God has a way of putting unexpected people in the world that testify to the wideness in God’s mercy. Dorothy Day (born November 8, 1897) was one of those people for many. She once said, “I love God as much as I love the person that I love the least,” as she boldly challenged pervasive norms about who deserved dignity and who was worthy of God’s love. She took stories from the early church seriously by sharing freely—“If you have two jackets in your closet, one of them belongs to the poor.” She took the life of Jesus seriously by creating communities that stood in solidarity with those who were experiencing poverty. Can we follow her courageous witness in spite of our own hesitation? Can we allow God to take our boxes of fear and replace them with circles of mercy? Let us extend the embrace of a God whose presence is larger than we know, whose boundaries are bigger than we can see, and whose mercy is wider than we will ever realize. And may Dorothy Day rest with all the saints in heaven. Amen.
God, surprise us with your mercy. Overwhelm us with your grace. Enlighten us with your compassion. Inspire us with your courage. Send us with your Spirit. Amen.