The Wideness of the Sea
Sailing Out of Frenchman’s Bay, Winter Harbor, Maine
It’s breezing up, and these day sailors are heading out where nothing but ocean waters and vast skies stretch from horizon to horizon; out where human insignificance and fragility become a reality; out where our imaginations reach to God’s greatness.
“There’s a wideness in God’s mercy/like the wideness of the sea…,” are words from a hymn written in by Frederick Faber in 1862. A half century later, Frederick Lehman, realizing how limited and meager our imaginations and vocabularies are, grappled with the indescribable, immeasurable love of God and penned the words to another hymn: “The love of God is greater far/Than tongue or pen can ever tell/It goes beyond the highest star/And reaches to the lowest hell…//Could we with ink the ocean fill/And were the skies of parchment made/Were every stalk on earth a quill/And every man a scribe by trade/To write the love of God above/Would drain the ocean dry/Nor could the scroll contain the whole/Though stretched from sky to sky.”
The Apostle Paul was equally convinced “that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39 (NLT2)
Such sentiments may seem emotional, poetic, embellishments, and hyperbole! However, the incarnate Christ is the greatest expression of these truths about God’s deep love. His teaching, wisdom, promises, life, death and powerful resurrection embody God’s amazing, intentional, unconditional, redeeming, restoring mercy. With the persistent wind of faith, we can sail that ocean of amazing grace and divine love to the distant horizons of eternal hope.