Chaconne in Dm D. Buxtehude (c.1638-1707)
“There’s A Wideness To God’s Mercy”
“Oh Sacred Head, Now Wounded” Zeitler
Frederick William Faber (1814-1863), author of “There’s a Wideness To God’s Mercy”, was an English cleric, author and poet. Faber excelled in school, was awarded scholarships for his general scholarship as well as prizes for his poetry. Raised a Calvinist, as a young man he changed to the Anglican Church. Mind you, the Anglican Church included (and includes) strands that are essentially Catholic excepting the authority of the Pope (the big sticking point for Henry VIII who founded the Anglican church) — and that was the strand which Faber joined. He eventually converted to Catholicism, and founded what amounted to a monastic order. He was a prolific author in spite of chronic ill health, writing hymns, epic poems and theological tomes (including an eight volume opus entitled “The Foot of the Cross”).
I’ve gotten quite a few comments about my analogy that we to God are like fleas on Einstein’s coat trying to understand Relativity, so I thought I would expand on that a little. Einstein was famous for his ‘thought experiments’ (which were essential to him discovering/inventing Relativity), and so, gentle reader, I have a ‘religious thought experiment’ for you in which Albert himself plays a role. In my thought experiment, a community of fleas wants to have a conversation with Albert. The fleas want to impress him with their discovery (after centuries of work by their best thinkers) that 1 + 1 = 2. They are very proud of the untold sweat and toil that went into deducing this mathematical truth, and for fleas this is a great accomplishment indeed! Now Albert, being the gracious and compassionate dude that he was, is very gracious about acknowledging the profound Truth they present to him, he compliments them for it, and even honors them for following the same Path of the pursuit of mathematical and physics Truth that he himself treads. But you and I know that the fleas could never, ever even BEGIN to grasp the advanced mathematical concepts that are as easy and natural to Albert as breathing.
“As high as the heavens are above the earth, so are My [God’s] thoughts higher than your thoughts.” (Is. 55:9) To me what is extraordinary is not so much that God would be merciful to us and our shortcomings, but that S/He would even notice us in the first place. And yet, S/He does. And went to a lot of trouble for us (e.g. the Cross).