13

Have Mercy On Us, God Most High

Full Text

1 Have mercy on us, God Most High,
who lift our hearts to thee;
have mercy now, most merciful,
most holy Trinity.
When heaven and earth were yet unmade,
when time was yet unknown,
thou in thy bliss and majesty
didst live and love alone.

2 How wonderful creation is,
the work which thou didst bless;
and, O what then must thou be like,
eternal loveliness!
Most ancient of all mysteries!
Low at thy throne we lie:
have mercy now, most merciful,
most holy Trinity.

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Scripture References

Further Reflections on Scripture References

Psalm 51 is David’s cry, similar to this song.
While singing this song, we may well see pictures of the Publican (Luke 18:13-14) making confession and the thief on the cross (Luke 23:40-43) asking for mercy, and other similar narratives.
13

Have Mercy On Us, God Most High

Words of Praise

In you, infinite God, we live and move and have our being.
You have been our dwelling place throughout all generations.
Before the mountains were born
or you brought forth the whole world,
from everlasting to everlasting you are God.
We praise and adore you, everlasting God.
But we are creatures of dust who return to dust.
In the morning you wake us up into the thunder of life.
In the evening you sweep us away in the sleep of death.
We are only mortals, mere transients in the world.
Our days quickly pass, and we fly away.
We bow before you, everlasting God.
Our times are in your hands, because
from everlasting to everlasting you are God.
So teach us to number our days,
that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
We need your guidance, everlasting God.
You could condemn us with just cause.
Because of our sin, you could consume us with your anger,
yet you surround us with compassion.
Your unfailing love is all we need.
We thank you, everlasting God.
May we sing for joy all our days.
Bless our work and our lives
so that they may testify to your glory.
We worship you, everlasting God,
through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
—based on Psalm 90
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Confession

Let us pray our confession to the all-holy Trinity:
Father God, have mercy; Christ, have mercy; Spirit, have mercy!
Surely it is God who saves us;
because we trust in you, we make our confession to you.
[silence for personal prayers confessing sins of commission]
Father God, have mercy; Christ, have mercy; Spirit, have mercy!
For the Lord is our stronghold and our sure defense;
You are our Savior, and thus we confess to you.
[silence for personal prayers confessing sins of omission]
Father God, have mercy; Christ, have mercy; Spirit, have mercy! Amen.
—based on Isaiah 12:2
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Additional Prayers

The following is a guide for extemporaneous prayers. The pattern provides a suggested text
for the opening and closing of each part of the prayer and calls for extemporaneous prayers of
thanksgiving, petition, and intercession.
Triune God,
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
we adore you for your threeness and oneness, a holy mystery.
We are in awe of that same unfathomable mystery reflected in
the creation around us . . .
the complexity of an atom . . .
the birth of a child . . .
your work in our lives . . .
Your ways are higher than our ways,
your thoughts greater than our thoughts,
so although we acknowledge
that we do not always understand your ways,
we continue to offer you our prayers for
creation and its care . . .
the nations of the world . . .
our nation and its leaders . . .
this community and those in authority . . .
the church universal as it works on your behalf . . .
this local church in its ministry . . .
persons with particular needs . . .
We pray in the name of the triune God,
three in one, from eternity to eternity. Amen.
[The Worship Sourcebook]
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

A Prayer of Acclamation and Petition
 
Gracious God, from all eternity you dwelled in Trinitarian community and yet saw fit to expand the realm of love. You made us finite creatures to love you and to love each other. But we are mortals, subject to sin and death. So have mercy on us, God most high, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
— Cornelius Plantinga, Jr.
13

Have Mercy On Us, God Most High

Tune Information

Name
KINGSFOLD
Key
e minor
Meter
8.6.8.6 D

Recordings

13

Have Mercy On Us, God Most High

Hymn Story/Background

Thought by some scholars to date back to the Middle Ages, KINGSFOLD is a folk tune set to a variety of texts in England and Ireland.
 
The tune was published in English Country Songs (1893), an anthology compiled by Lucy E. Broadwood and J. A. Fuller Maitland. After having heard the tune in Kingsfold, Sussex, England (thus its name), Ralph Vaughan Williams introduced it as a hymn tune in The English Hymnal (1906) as a setting for Horatius Bonar's “I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say.”
 
Shaped in classic rounded bar form (AABA), KINGSFOLD has modal character and is both dignified and strong. 
— Bert Polman

Author Information

Raised in the Church of England, Frederick W. Faber (b. Calverly, Yorkshire, England, 1814; d. Kensington, London, England, 1863) came from a Huguenot and strict Calvinistic family background. He was educated at Balliol College, Oxford, and ordained in the Church of England in 1839. Influenced by the teaching of John Henry Newman, Faber followed Newman into the Roman Catholic Church in 1845 and served under Newman's supervision in the Oratory of St. Philip Neri. Because he believed that Roman Catholics should sing hymns like those written by John Newton, Charles Wesley, and William Cowpe, Faber wrote 150 hymns himself. One of his best known, "Faith of Our Fathers," originally had these words in its third stanza: "Faith of Our Fathers! Mary's prayers/Shall win our country back to thee." He published his hymns in various volumes and finally collected all of them in Hymns (1862).
— Bert Polman
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