// God, in your mercy, bind our wounds, renew our strength,
Hear our cry, hear our cry: heal the broken-hearted. //
// Like mother bird and tree of life, you have gathered and sheltered us,
Guided us, till we rise to spread our wings and fly. //
Words: Brian Graves (Psalm 103:1-5; 147:3; Deut. 32:10-14). Music: “Now My Dear Companions,” 19th century Shaker song by Augustus P. Blasé.
A word about “God, In Your Mercy,” which we will sing throughout the Lenten season as a sermon response and call to prayer: These lyrics, set to a mid-19th century Shaker tune, draw on Deuteronomy’s portrayal of God as a mother eagle, watching over, protecting, and providing for her young (32:10-14), as well as the pervasive biblical appeal to God for healing (as in Psalms 103 and 147). Another image associated with healing, the “tree of life” (Genesis 2:9; Revelation 22:2; Ezekiel 47:12), became identified in early Judaism with Wisdom (Proverbs 3:13-18), which in turn came to be understood as the Torah itself (Baruch 4:1-2) and, eventually, Christ (John 1:1-5). All three may be said to gather, shelter, and guide those entrusted to their care. —Brian Graves