It was in a simple church beneath a red mesa where my heart was softened to the tune of Have Mercy on Us – an old Christian Orthodox hymn sung every morning during Lent by monks at the Monastery of the Holy Archangel Michael in Cañones, New Mexico. Though there were countless songs sung over the course of the 90 days I spent there, this was the one that moved me.
At the beginning of my spiritual retreat, I critiqued the song – the notes where the brothers missed their harmony, or were out of tune. But eventually, the song became a prayer; a melody of heart and mind where thinking gave way to embodied grace.
Before leaving the monastery, I asked one of the brothers for the music to the hymn so that I could show it to my sister, Aimee, who I’ve made music with in a folk rock band called The Music Room for many years. I had it in my mind that, someday, we’d sing this song together.
Last month, we finally made that hope a reality.
With this song, and accompanying visuals of the monastery (viewable here: bit.ly/havemercyonus
), I hope that you will experience a bit of the peace and perspective gifted to me during my time in the desert.
If you’d like to download the song, please know that a portion of each sale will be donated to the brotherhood at the monastery as they go about praying for God’s mercy on humankind.
Peace and good,