Sunday, December 4, 2011

Mercy and the Sea

It was great to meet folks in Fernandina Beach, Florida during a book signing at Books Plus. Glad to be on beautiful Amelia Island again.


Just before our departure from the island, I walked to the shore to give the sea one last goodbye. It’d be months before we returned, and I wanted to firmly log in my experience now, so that deep in January on some icy cold morning, I could remember the sound of lapping waves and the feel of warm wind against my face.






The expanse of blue spread from horizon to horizon, and words memorized long ago surfaced in my thoughts:

There’s a wideness in God’s mercy, like the wideness of the sea…

It was the first line of a hymn I hadn’t sung in years.

Webster says that mercy is “the disposition to be forgiving and kind.” I turned right and then left and saw great arms sweep from North to South spreading compassion and kindness.

When I returned home, I had an "aha" moment when I read the last lines of the hymn. I’ve quoted them often through the years but had forgotten their origin:

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.

I know that in the months ahead, it won’t be so much the sound of the sea I’ll remember, but the breadth of those arms of mercy. Oh, to wholly believe God's promises, and live in his luminous light even on the bleakest of winter days.
"The Lord is full of compassion and mercy" (James 5:11).

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