I’m joining in with the Mercy Mondays linkup hosted by Jenn at Hang on Baby, We’re Almost…Somewhere. This week’s prompt is Singing of His Mercy: where music and mercy have intersected for you.
I missed last Monday’s post about what mercy isn’t because I honestly couldn’t think of a single thing to write. But when I saw this Monday’s prompt about music I thought surely I’d have something to add. I often think in song lyrics. Songs will pop into my head when I hear certain phrases, and I’ll sing words to myself to the tune of other songs at times. I listen to Christian radio frequently, and many of my favorite artists are Christian musicians. I also love hymns and even wrote my senior Honors thesis on the role of hymns in the Baptist church. But as a paged through my mental encyclopedia of song lyrics, I couldn’t really think of a lyrics instance of the word “mercy.”
A quick Google search solved my problem (as usual):
- Third Day sings, “There is hope for the helpless, rest for the weary, and love for the broken hearts. / There is grace and forgiveness, mercy and healing / He’ll meet you wherever you are.”
- Casting Crowns quotes Micah 6:8 and exhorts us to “Seek justice, love mercy, walk humbly with your god.”
- Switchfoot sings a song called “The Economy of Mercy,” which is on their album Learning to Breathe that I listened to ad nauseum the summer before my 10th grade year of high school (more on that later).
- Caedmon’s Call has a song in which each verse explores what mercy is, from “the joy of my heart and the boast of my tongue” to “more than a match for my heart.”
And then I delved into the world of hymns. Surprisingly, a search for the word “mercy” didn’t turn up a whole lot.
- ”Depth of mercy! Can there be / Mercy still reserved for me? / Can my God His wrath forbear, / Me, the chief of sinners, spare?” is offered up by none other than Charles Wesley.
- Wesley exclaims again that “‘Tis mercy all, immense and free, / For O my God, it found out me!”
- In “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing,” the “streams of mercy, never ceasing / call for songs of loudest praise.”
The Baptist hymnal (of which I am the proud owner of a 2008 edition) has columns of songs under the topical headings “God, His Love, Mercy and Grace,” and “Jesus, His Love, Mercy, and Grace,” so I stopped there in order to not blather on about hymns forever. Google gave me plenty I could have shared, too, including numerous links to a Kanye West song “Mercy,” which I chose to skip.
But this all so academic. Jenn asked us where music and mercy interscted for me. And so I think the Switchfoot song says it best for me after all:
“In the economy of mercy, I am poor and begging man.”
Maybe I couldn’t come up with thoughts on what mercy isn’t last week because I don’t really know what it is, after all. I don’t have a dramatic conversion story wherein I used to drink and do drugs and I turned my life around through the mercy of God and His people. I haven’t had life-altering controversies where I was compelled to forgive someone who had wronged me, or where I was forced to ask for deep forgiveness from someone whom I had wronged. And so sometimes it feels like mercy doesn’t apply to me. It’s hard to ask for mercy when I don’t feel like I need it on a day-to-day basis. I don’t wake up every morning singing, “Morning by morning new mercies I see” as in the hymn “Great Is Thy Faithfulness.”
I’m at a point in my life where faith is not often at the forefront of my daily thoughts. The rhythms of a life of faith were comforting for me through high school and college, but I think I’m at a turning point where my faith needs to become something deeper if it’s to continue being an enriching part of my life. And at the crux of the Christian faith is a belief in God’s mercy: His mercy that compelled Him to send His only son to die a horrible death on a cross so that you and I wouldn’t have to. Among all the other things you could believe, that’s certainly radical. I don’t know what that mercy looks like or feels like for me day to day, and I don’t necessarily know the difference between mercy, and grace, and forgiveness, and all those other words that crop up throughout church services. I do think you can show mercy in the small things: a cup of coffee and a listening ear for a hurting friend, completing a task for someone who is overwhelmed, sending a bit of money to a compassionate charity you care about. But beyond that, I’m not too sure.
So I’ll try and take a leaf out of Switchfoot’s book as I navigate the economy of mercy: in the currency of grace is where my song begins. I’ll keep singing mercy as best I can.