When I first heard Mary Gauthier sing this song live, I was a 25-year-old know-it-all, playing alt-country music on the festival circuit. I had heard the recording, and had loved it from the start, but when I her her perform it, I knew it was a timeless song, and that she would be an iconic legend of a songwriter in her lifetime. I didn't know-it-all back then (nor do I today), but something I did know, was that I was right about this song, and about Mary.
If ever there was a song to sing, as we stand in the midst of a Great Turning, trying not to let fear get the better of us, on the brink of the most strangely charged US election in history, it is this one.
It is a song that cries out for Jubilee.
Cynthia Bourgeault has one of the keenest eyes for etymological nuance (and nearly... pretty much everything else), and she teaches that the word mercy is rooted in the word commerce, or merchant. Meaning, exchange. So when I sing this, I hear her words "mercy is not something God has so much as it’s something that God is." (Read her book Wisdom Jesus... please!!!)
The story of severance, or separation, that is trying to end, (but also scrambling to remain), is one that would have us think we are separate from mercy.
If only we knew we were swimming in it.
How much more mercy we might offer, and how much more we might receive.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.
May we be merciful now, in these coming days and weeks.
And may mercy flow like wine at a wedding feast.
To listen on apple music, click here.
To listen on spotify, click here.
Alana Levandoski is a song and chant writer, recording artist and music producer, in the Christian tradition, who lives with her family on a regenerative farm on the Canadian prairies.