A dear friend of mine shared with me a special passage of prayers called Sheltering Mercy: Prayers Inspired by the Psalms.
It goes like this:
But You will be my delight, Lord;
Your Word my mirth and meal—
and I like an oak,
drawing strength from fertile soil,
growing in grace,
safe in the circumference of Your mercy.
So I will flourish,
a river tree drinking from the deep—
fruit heavy on my branches;
leaves thrumming with life.
Though seasons shift around me,
I will stand.
The godless are lifeless:
bent by the wind;
such are those who shun Your mercy.
They forfeit seats at Your table,
refusing Your wedding garments;
choosing nakedness over grace.
I won’t be counted among them—
not while Your River rushes for my good.
Lead me, Lord,
strength upon strength,
that at the end of my days I may look back
and wonder at the manifold mercy of God.
See that word at the end? Manifold. I didn’t know what it meant. And combined with the word “mercy” – I really didn’t know what it meant.
I had heard of the word manifold in automobile terms, but nothing about automobiles led me to think of anything pertaining to mercy, so I’ll just leave that there.
Google became by best friend shortly after my inquisitive mind sparked, and it led me to this definition.
Wikipedia claims a “Manifold” in mathematics “is a topological space that locally resembles Euclidean space near each point. More precisely, an n-dimensional manifold, or n-manifold for short, is a topological space with the property that each point has a neighborhood that is homeomorphic to an open subset of n-dimensional Euclidean space”
A topological space ?? Let’s dissect that.
ME: “Alexa: What’s a topological space?”
Alright, we’re getting somewhere and I feel there’s something more to this. There is another concept of a manifold being something of a covering, hence the word topological.
When the word manifold is connected to a word like “mercy”, it brings on something even more profound of a meaning: A covering mercy.
A big blanket is what I envisioned in this case. Some people would even consider this to be something like a tapestry.
Tapestries can be ornate, thick, intricately woven and embroidered specifically to mean something or represent something important. Tapestries are also often multi-colored, multi-faceted, ornate with gilded threads and fine silk, depicting very distinct stories. One of my most first experiences in visualizing tapestries was during a trip to The Cloisters museum in Fort Tyron Park area of Manhattan. In this exquisite medieval monastery-like building was displayed some of the most beautiful and elaborate European (and some rather gigantic) wall tapestries -with some dating back to the 12th century.
These tapestries were very expensive, and hand-crafted in a rather laborious fashion.
Can we imagine God creating this intricate, woven tapestry – a manifold – to cover us? This covering is meant to protect us with its precious, proverbial fibers that is the blood shed by His Son Jesus Christ? I could go so far as to say that this manifold is so intricately perfected with Jesus’ DNA itself.
We are so humbled to even be important enough to that YOU would let us be the recipient of this.
This “manifold mercy” is like his unconditional love that continues to cover us day in and day out. Until the day we are called home. I can’t help but think that the words to which we worship: “Thank you Jesus for the blood APPLIED” really does pertain to this amazing, beautiful manifold mercy which God has provided to us.