There’s a Wideness in God’s Mercy

Six years ago I was standing in the parking lot of a hotel in Uganda, waiting for the group to gather. It was a beautiful East African morning–the kind that is going to burn like a furnace at mid-day, but is dawn-of-creation perfect until 10am–and I began to fiddle around with a little idea on the guitar. Somehow that riff paired up with the text “There’s a Wideness” in my head, and I’ve been trying consummate the union ever since.

Many songs I write come out fully formed, whether because I tapped into some well-spring of creativity or because a pressing deadline forces quick completion. But this one just wouldn’t settle down. I have a theory that things are harder to articulate the more they mean to you, so maybe it was the combination of beautiful hymn text, fond African memories, and can’t-get-it-out-of-my-mind melody that was tripping me up. In any case, I was¬†definitely breaking my Write Once/Edit Twice rule of composing.

We’re singing various settings of “There’s a Wideness” at Church of the Servant during Lent, so I said, “Enough’s enough. I need to finish this thing!” Instead of continuing to hem and haw about minute changes that could be made, I decided to trust my instincts and bring my editing to a close. Here are three ways/places the song has been sung in the last two weeks:

COS Guitarchestra: MP3, PDF

COS choir: MP3, PDF

Calvin LOFT, via COS intern Laura de Jong. (Thanks Laura, Paul, and the LOFT team!) Go to minute 29:10 of the video.

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