On January 16, I announced my intention not to choose a word to focus on throughout the year, as was my habit. Instead, inspired by a hymn our choir sang that Sunday morning, I decided to spend 2022 listening for either familiar or newly discovered songs/hymns that--in my mind--give me a "fleeting glimpse" of the divine.
Since that morning, I've been consistent--consistent for me, that is--in posting about such songs, but I've yet to blog about the hymn that instigated this series of posts. Incidents kept occurring which made the messages of other songs seem more urgent. But two recent happenings make it abundantly clear that the time to blog about "Wonderful, Merciful Savior" has come.
Dawn Rodgers and Eric Wyse co-wrote this song in 1989, and hundreds of recordings exist. Because of the beautiful melody which lends itself so perfectly to harmony, I've loved every rendition I've heard. But as I said in my initial post, to allow me a peek into heaven, a song must be the perfect union between music and words.
This past week, yet another school shooting occurred in the US. I cannot fathom a horror that guts us so completely as does the senseless slaying of innocents. As I reflected on this evil act, words from this hymn played over and over in my mind: "You offer hope when our hearts have hopelessly lost our way."
In the raging battle over gun control, many social media posts have declared prayers are not enough; actions are required. I'm not weighing in on either side of the gun control argument, but I know this: Whatever action we do take will be totally ineffective if unaccompanied by prayer. It is only through prayer that we can cling to the hope of healing when it seems that as a country we have "hopelessly lost our way."
The second event that makes posting about this song timely is the temporary loss of Lucas Fabio as choir director at our church. The very person who awakened in me the beauty of this hymn and others, Lucas came from Brazil as a doctoral music student. In the time he has been with us, he has faithfully and lovingly worked with the choir to add inspiration and meaning to the traditional worship service. I have heard nothing but admiration for Lucas and his family in the years they have served our church.
Sadly, the visas for the Fabio family are about to expire. Efforts are being made to secure permanent living for them in the US, but those efforts won't get through bureaucratic red tape before the visas run out. Later this week, the Fabios will return to Brazil.
I'm calling this loss "temporary," however, because I'm resting in the assurance that prayers will bring the Fabio family back to us soon. This isn't "Good-bye." It's "Farewell until you return."
This version of "Wonderful, Merciful Savior" is my favorite because I like the saxophone solo in the middle of it. This one is my daughter's favorite. There are many to choose from. Choose the one that "speaks" to you.