Mercy We Abide

Mercy We Abide

Mercy we abide in you.
Stir in us, we pray.

1. In peace, may we assemble.
In peace, may we unite.
In peace, may we be whole.
Move within each heart.

2. For all who suffer in war.
For all who struggle for comfort
For all who slumber in ease.

3. We are broken, longing for peace
Forgiveness flow among us.
May we be reconciled.

Words and music by Bret Hesla. © 2003 Bret Hesla. Admin. Augsburg Fortress.
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In a nutshell: Reconsidering the line “God have mercy.” Rather, as my friend Jack says, “God is mercy.”

To me, the old language in the time-honored liturgies I grew up with brings up the old images of God –white, male, powerful judge. I can’t separate them. Most of my songwriting work for churches involves a search for new language to sing, that describes what’s going on today, and offers expansive ways to understand the divine. In this song, I’ve tried to reimagine a Kyrie that uses new imagery for God. My intent is to lift up Jesus’ vision of God as a loving spirit (who is mercy), and let that vision play out in the cantor’s text.

During the cantor lines, the congregation also has a part to sing. It’s a dialog. If this back-and-forthh feels too busy, you can just have instruments play the congregation part. Or let a small group of singers do it for a few Sundays, after which the whole congregation will easily join in.

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