Uncommon Mercy
Hymns from a Dozen Lands: Rusty Edwards

Author Rusty Edwards
Foreword by C. Michael Hawn
Released
12/2013
Catalog no. 125-415
Price $15 (U.S.)

Excerpt

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Contributors to Uncommon Mercy
Anderson, Ruth (U.S.A.)
Bägenfelt, Susanne (Sweden)
Buehler, Julie (U.S.A.)
Donaldson, Andrew (Canada)
Edwards, Rusty (U.S.A.)
English folk song
Erskine, Peter (U.S.A.)
Faus, Robert E. (U.S.A.)
Faustini, João Wilson (Brasil)
Fedak, Alfred V. (U.S.A.)
Garbuzova, Ludmila (Russia)
Goode, Lonnie (U.S.A.)
Grindal, Gracia (U.S.A.)
Hill, Darcy (U.S.A.)
Jouanet, Celeste (U.S.A.)
Leach, Richard (U.S.A.)
Lee, Geonyong (South Korea)
Lim, Swee Hong (Singapore)
Loh, I-toh (Republic of China)
Marshall, Jane (U.S.A.)
Matsikenyiri, Patrick (Zimbabwe)
Miller, Mark A. (U.S.A.)
Mitchell-Wallace, Sue (U.S.A.)
Murray, Shirley Erena (New Zealand)
Nagarjuna (2nd cent., India)
Olushola, Michael (Nigeria)
Perry, Michael (England)
Plüss, David (Switzerland)
Rickard, Jeffrey (U.S.A.)
Rudat, Stephanie (U.S.A.)
Samkange, Celiwe (Zimbabwe)
Samuelson, Debra von Fischer (U.S.A.)
Samuelson, Miriam (U.S.A.)
Sosa, Pablo (Argentina)
Wold, Wayne L. (U.S.A.)
Young, Carlton R. (U.S.A.)

Description
A collection of Rusty Edwards' newest hymns, and collaborations with authors and composers from over a dozen countries. “These songs ring with authenticity. By this I mean you will find no hint of pomp or pretension. The language is simple, but never simplistic, accessible, but not banal, unconventional, but not contrived…these songs come from a pastor’s heart…A unique contribution to global hymnody.” --from the Foreword by C. Michael Hawn

Foreword
When a sacred poet shares a creation with a wider audience, it is risky business. First of all, it is risky for the poet. They have chosen to share a personal spiritual revelation with the world. Such a sharing reflects a level of vulnerability that those who have not done it cannot appreciate. Depending on the perspective of those who encounter the poem, it may be rejected on one of many grounds including theological justification, artistic merit, or personal experience--they simply cannot identify with the revelations of the poet.
 Assuming that the poem passes the initial text, it is still risky--this time for the singer. What if the poet articulates a feeling that has been buried in the singer’s soul so deeply that they do not want to uncover it? What if encountering this feeling causes a sensation that is unexpected, even to the point of losing control? What if the poet gives voice to a person or group that has been silenced by history or society and now demands our attention? What if the poet’s challenge is a prophetic word of God that makes us uncomfortable? What if the poem conveys a yearning dangled in front of the singer by God that calls for change in one’s life?
 On the other hand, what if the singing the poet’s creation offers delight, purpose, release, hope, peace or community? Can you afford not to risk taking the song into your being and waiting to see what will happen?
 What does this collection say about Rusty Edwards--his faith, his spiritual journey, his hopes for the Christian community? I can only mention a few in this space, but perhaps they will encourage you to open your spirit to the Spirit as reflected in these songs of faith.
 These songs ring with authenticity. By this I mean you will find no hint of pomp or pretension. The language is simple, but never simplistic, accessible, but not banal, unconventional, but not contrived.
 These songs are the result of collaboration-- collaboration with some whose relationships have been a blessing to the poet, collaboration with other writers, and with musicians. Rusty Edwards is more than capable of composing both tunes and texts, but he relishes the possibilities of collaborating with a wide variety of co-writers. These collaborators come from fifteen different countries, making this collection a unique contribution to global hymnody.
 These songs come from a pastor’s heart. They reflect postures of worship, seasons of the Christian year, and pastoral concerns--the stuff of day-in-day-out ministry.
 Many moments of revelation came to me in savoring these hymns, but one poem captured the essence of the collection and its purpose:

Sing your song loudly, with love as your lyric.
Limitless love: one can never run out.
All in each one, and for all the same answer:
Love. Then love more. That’s what life is about.

So, I invite you to risk community and that God may speak to you through these songs.

--C. Michael Hawn
University Distinguished Professor of Church Music
Perkins School of Theology
Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas

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