The album is part of The Beatitudes Project, a venture from Stu Garrard, a musician, producer and author who is a Grammy nominee and Dove Award winner. Garrard started the project as a means "to be a reset button in a world plagued with violence and division," according to a press release from Hoganson Media Relations about the album.
In addition to Maher and Assad, the full-length album features other well-known Christian recording artists: Hillsong United, Amy Grant, John Mark McMillan, and Michael W. Smith.
"Oh Mercy," written by Garrard, Maher and Ian Cron, is inspired by Matthew 5, specifically, "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled." The song also "reflects on the ache for justice and wholeness; the wrestle with addiction and the longing for global and communal wrongs to be made right," according to the press release.
"I think what we've done is tried to combine the American dream with Christianity," Garrard writes in his book. "I'm not sure those two things mix well. We need to be set free from that. And maybe the way we get set free is to hunger and thirst for righteousness and justice, and let the ache disrupt us into action until we become part of the solution."
According to a news release about the Beatitudes Project, every song on the album, including "Oh Mercy," was inspired by real people "who personify the beatitudes today."
"Oh Mercy" finds its inspiration from Nashville's Thistle Farms, started by Becca Stevens, an Episcopal priest and one of CNN's Heroes of 2016. Thistle Farms aims to "heal, empower and employ women survivors of trafficking, prostitution, and addiction," according to its website.
The song speaks freely of forgiveness:
When you took your broken heart
and fed the world with it
You gave us all a brand new start
I can't get over it
and under my skin
forgiveness sets in
and your kindness leads me now.
Lyrics and artwork for "Oh Mercy" (Courtesy of Hoganson Media Relations)