BEHIND THE SONG WITH KEVIN DAVIS
#240 - "Motion of Mercy" by Francesca Battistelli
What is a "motion of mercy"? NRT's Kevin Davis gets the back story.
 


Fervent Records’ GRAMMY-nominated artist and reigning Dove Awards Artist of the Year, Francesca Battistelli, is keeping busy with hit song after hit song, spreading her catchy tunes and the message of Jesus.

With over 454,000 albums sold and well over one million downloads to date, Battistelli has become the best-selling new artist in the genre in the past eight years. Her critically acclaimed sophomore album, Hundred More Years, is the follow-up to her debut, My Paper Heart, which delivered the smash No. 1 single “Free To Be Me” and hit singles “It’s Your Life,” “I’m Letting Go” and “Beautiful, Beautiful.”

Written by Francesca Battistelli and Ian Eskelin, “Motion of Mercy” is a driving mid-tempo tune that showcases Battistelli’s vocal prowess while effortlessly making clear the pass-it-on nature of God's love in so many forms. The single--the follow-up to her No. 1 hit, “This Is The Stuff”--released to radio July 18, and already has radio motioning for the song with 25 stations on board, making it the most added song on the Christian airwaves this past week.

I had the great opportunity to interview Francesca in-person at Creation Northeast about “Motion of Mercy.”


What is the main message of your song, “Motion of Mercy"?

At the end of a writing session with my producer, Ian Eskelin, this is the one we were jumping up and down about. He came down to Atlanta to write a few songs with me. He had just heard a sermon with the idea about a motion of mercy. I was trying to memorize the Book of James with my husband at the time. Mercy is something that the human mind can’t understand ourselves without seeing it demonstrated by Jesus. I love the idea about how when we are forgiven much, we’ll love much.

Do you have any Bible verses you used to write the song?

James 2:14-17 is perfect for this song: “What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.”

What does the song mean to you personally? How can listeners apply that message in their walk with God?

The motion of mercy is a cycle. You can't really give mercy until it's been given to you. When you receive something, you want to give it in return. I love the word picture that “Motion of Mercy” is--a beautiful and unexpected giving cycle that helps make the world go around. Love is an action word. I think the concept is that compassion is worthless if all you do is feel bad for someone. It’s about doing something and trying to make a difference. I want people to be reminded to not just live happy lives based on our own pursuit of happiness. As believers, we’re called to so much more--even small things like paying for someone’s coffee, or big things like giving someone a car when they are in need.

Here are the lyrics:

I was poor I was weak
I was the definition of a spiritually
Bankrupt condition
So in need of help
I was unsatisfied
Hungry and thirsty
When You rushed to my side
So unworthy
Still You gave yourself away

That's the motion of mercy
Changing the way and the why we are
That's the motion of mercy
Moving my heart

Now I'm filled by a love
That calls me to action
I was empty before
Now I'm drawn to compassion
And to give myself away

Living for the lost - Loving 'til it hurts
No matter what the cost - Like You loved me first
That's the motion of mercy
God give me strength to give something from nothing
I wanna be a glimpse of the Kingdom that's coming... Soon

Living for the lost - Loving 'til it hurts
No matter what the cost - Like You loved me first
That's the motion of mercy - Moving my heart
To give yourself away - To give it all away
That's the motion of mercy


Here’s Asbury’s Bible commentary on James 2:14-17: “Faith is alive in self-forgetting deeds. This removes the tendency to make good works the instrument of salvation. Failure to put faith into practice promotes a selfishness that protects self and withholds material help from those in need. Its heartlessness hides behind the façade of politeness. Even the demons are more honest about their understanding of God: they shudder for their very existence. James illustrates full-orbed faith with reference to two Old Testament personalities: one the father of the Hebrew race and the other a pagan harlot. For both, knowledge of and about God informed their faith. Rahab declared, ‘When we heard of it what the Lord had done to the Egyptians and the two kings, Sihon and Og, our hearts sank... because of you, for the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below.’ Abraham would wipe out his future with the sacrifice of Isaac; Rahab would wipe out her family if her deception were discovered. Faith that is self-centered is only a corpse; it has the appearance of the real, but not the life.”

“Motion Of Mercy” grabs me with Francesca’s sincere prayer: “God give me strength to give something for nothing, I wanna be a glimpse of the Kingdom that's coming… soon.”

This song is all about the celebration of God’s mercy in forgiving us and as Christians, we need to “pay it forward.” If the spirit of mercy is a basic element in Christian faith, then the expression of mercy is an integral part of faith. This expression of mercy constitutes faith in action.

As Francesca and I discussed the song and the profound message, we talked about how we are commanded to love others by Jesus. This song challenges me to think about how well I am loving others. 1 John 4:19 says “We love because He first loved us.”

Be challenged by singing along with these words--“Now I'm filled by a love, That calls me to action, I was empty before , Now I'm drawn to compassion, And to give myself away. That’s the motion of mercy.” Amen!

Kevin Davis is a longtime fan of Christian music, an avid music collector and credits the message of Christian music for leading him to Christ.

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