Thy mercy, my God, is the theme of my song,
The joy of my heart. and the boast of my tongue;
Thy free grace alone, from the first to the last,
Hath won my affections, and bound my soul fast.
Without Thy sweet mercy I could not live here;
Sin would reduce me to utter despair;
But, through Thy free goodness, my spirits revive,
And He that first made me still keeps me alive.
Whene’er I mistake, thy kind mercy begins
To melt me and then I can mourn for my sins;
And, led by the Spirit to Jesus’s blood,
My sorrows are dry’d and my strength is renew’d.
Thy mercy is more than a match for my heart,
Which wonders to feel its own hardness depart;
Dissolved by Thy goodness, I fall to the ground,
And weep to the praise of the mercy I’ve found.
Thy mercy is endless, most tender and free;
No sinner need doubt, since ’tis given to me;
No merit will buy it, nor fears stop its course;
Good works are the fruits of its freeness and force.
Great Father of mercies, Thy goodness I own,Words by John Stocker, Music by Sandra McCracken, Arranged by Joel Littlepage (2001).
And the covenant love of Thy crucified Son;
All praise to the Spirit, Whose whisper divine
Seals mercy, and pardon, and righteousness mine.
Ponder how you would react to things if you lived hour by hour in the heartfelt awareness that you are rescued from horrible death and eternal suffering, and that, in spite of deserving no help, you are lavished with mercy every day (even in the hard things) and will be made perfectly and eternally happy in the age to come.
And whatever the timing or form of God’s mercy, we never rise above our lifelong status as beneficiaries of divine mercy. We are always utterly dependent on the undeserved mercy of our kind Father. As the songwriter Sandra McCracken writes of this hymn, “It’s a bold expectation, appealing for mercy when I don’t have anything measurable to contribute or to earn for myself. I can’t bargain with a Holy God. My appeal for grace [and mercy] is only and always Jesus.”
Not much is known about the hymn writer John Stocker, but we are grateful for Thy Mercy, My God which was first published in the Gospel Magazine in 1776-1777 and over 90 hymnals since. We’ll be adding a few other verses that history and hymnals have tended to leave out along the way. I’m looking to learning this and singing this with you all this month, particularly in light of the recent conference spent pondering and marveling at the grace and mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ in Ephesians 2:1-10.
Onward and Upward!