Some New Lyrics for the Year of Mercy
The Archdiocese of Milwaukee commissioned two composers to author a hymn and a song for the celebration of the Year of Mercy that begins December 8th. I was blest to have been called to compose a song… and surprised as well.
Before reading further, would you reflect upon your definition of mercy, please? Thanks.
OK then: Two scripture passages initially came to mind: “We have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves…” (2COR 4:7) and “Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” (John 21:18)
These are passages about mercy. They describe a challenging mercy which calls us out of our comfort zones into the uncertainty of freedom in Christ. YIKES! That’s why it’s terrible. Mercy cannot be domesticated forever, seems to me. So, I am sharing this draft of the lyrics for feedback. At some point I will have a recording of it. Thanks! –roc,sj
Your Tender and Terrible Mercy – a FIRST DRAFT
Lyrics by Roc O’Connor, SJ Based on 2 Corinthians 4:7, Romans 9:19-23, Jeremiah 18: 3, Isaiah 64:8
Verse 1: In these vessels of clay, in these vessels of earth and of clay, You reveal your mercy, your tender and terrible mercy, Lord.
Verse 2: Mercy you show through your art, still conforming the vessel to Christ: Making each an image, an icon of Jesus the Risen Lord!
Though we are the clay, we would be the Potter / Constructing our lives, controlling our fate! / Save us, O God, from vain and hollow lives, in your mercy, O God.
Verse 3: Hands of our God sculpt the clay; form and function emerging as art / Yet will clay turn haughty, rejecting the form that its Maker chose?
Verse 4: How can the clay blame the hands? Scorn the pattern applied by our God? / “Why have you thus made me? You shaped me without my consent, oh, Lord!”
Verse 5: Take away our hearts of stone, Lord. Give us hearts of flesh! / Place your Spirit deep within our souls, in your mercy, oh God!
Verse 6: In your mercy, O God, you will call us where we would not go / Leading us from exile to share in the fullness of freedom, Lord!
© Robert F. O’Connor, SJ, All Rights Reserved, 2015