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Saturday, January 26, 2013

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"Daddy, do you know how much I love you? I love you thiiiiis much!" She flings her little arms out so wide that she almost falls over. How wide is God's mercy? The writer of this hymn tells us: "There's a wideness in God's mercy, Like the wideness of the sea."

Have you ever thought about the gift of wideness? What does it mean that the gifts God gives us have "wideness?" Think of the opposite of wideness: narrowness, constriction, restriction. Wideness suggests abundance, room to move and maneuver, space to grow and thrive. That is what God's love gives us.

The writer of Psalm 19 praises God and says in verse 36, "You gave me a wide place for my steps under me, and my feet did not slip." Here God's gift of wideness means the security to move forward in life. One of the praise songs sung in the Brazilian Lutheran church has these words: "O God, your love is such a beautiful vista, such a beautiful, open field." Imagine God's love for you as a broad, beautiful, wide open field where you can play, work, dream, love and serve.

O God, today let us celebrate your never-ending love for us and for all creation. May we stretch out our lives in joy, may we reach out our arms in service. Amen.

Ron Baesler
Messiah Lutheran Church, Yorba Linda, Calif.
Master of Divinity, 1976; Doctor of Theology , 1995

"There's a Wideness in God's Mercy," ELW 587

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.

This God Pause daily devotion is brought to you by the alumni of Luther Seminary.