According to the Hymnology Archive the original Welsh text of this hymn was first published in 1847. It was originally written by William Rees and has become known as the hymn of the Welsh revival of 1904-1905. It was translated into English in 1899 and adapted in 2004 with a new chorus by Matt Redman.
Here is love, vast as the oceanLoving kindness as the floodWhen the Prince of Life, our RansomShed for us His precious bloodWho His love will not remember?Who can cease to sing His praise?He can never be forgottenThroughout Heaven’s eternal days
The opening imagery of this hymn gave me pause as I began to look at it. Using the word “ocean” when crafting a lyric is certainly nothing new. Neither is the word “flood”. But I had to stop and think about “loving kindness as the flood” for a moment because so often the only reference to floods in our culture is negative.
Certainly, watching your home and memories float away is devastating, and it’s worse losing a loved one to a related tragedy. But God created floods for sustaining life, rejuvenating life, and recharging life. Floods bring replenishing water and nutrients, create new habitats for wildlife, and flush out pollutants. Sometimes it’s our perspective that needs to change to see the “loving kindness as the flood”.
On the mount of crucifixionFountains opened deep and wideThrough the floodgates of God’s mercyFlowed a vast and gracious tideGrace and love, like mighty riversPoured incessant from aboveAnd Heaven’s peace and perfect justiceKissed a guilty world in love
In the Garden of Eden, God spared the lives of Adam and Eve. The original instruction wasn’t, “If you eat of this fruit, you will struggle the rest of your life.” No. It was plain and simple. “Eat the fruit, die.” Did God forget? No. He poured out his mercy upon them and they lived. He poured out His grace upon them and they were clothed.
We live with the consequences of the fall yes, but God enacted punishment on the serpent far greater than He did on Adam and Eve. Since the beginning of creation, God has been opening the floodgates of His mercy. Like “mighty rivers”, flow grace and love. “Poured incessant”, which means continuing without pause. “And Heaven’s peace and perfect justice kissed a guilty world in love.” What a truth!
In Thy truth Thou dost direct me
by Thy Spirit through Thy word
and Thy grace my need is meeting
as I trust in Thee, my Lord
Of Thy fullness Thou art pouring
Thy great love and pow’r on me
without measure, full and boundless
drawing out my heart to Thee
This hymn is known as the “Love song of the Welsh revival.” We are shown His love, His grace, His mercy, His peace and perfect justice. And then we are reminded of His guiding. Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”
In 2004, Matt Redman added this chorus at the end, to give us a way to respond. It’s sung with shouting praise!
(Chorus by Matt Redman)
No love is higher, no love is widerNo love is deeper, no love is truerNo lover is higher, no lover is widerNo love is like Your love, o Lord
“Of thy fullness thou art pouring thy great love and pow’r on me. Without measure, full and boundless, drawing out my heart to Thee.”