22 Jun Music Mondays: “Amazing Grace”
Music Mondays: “Amazing Grace”
A reminder of God’s grace that spans the centuries is singing. The church hymnal is a distillation of our collective Christian heritage. This week, we focus on one of the most beloved and well-known hymns: “Amazing Grace.” By taking a musical journey through the ages, we will hear this hymn as it was sung in the 18th century when it was composed, an organ arrangement by Frederick Swann emulating the haunting sounds of bagpipes, and three contemporary Christian adaptations: “Grace Like Rain” by Todd Agnew, “Broken Vessels” by Hillsong Worship and Faith’s Review and Expectation” by Sandra McCracken.
“Amazing Grace” was published by John Newton in 1779. When he penned the words “that saved a wretch like me,” he was not expressing remorse for some personal failing, such as intemperance or infidelity. John Newton came to see himself as a “wretch” because of his participation in the African slave trade. This was Newton’s great sin. When the words of this song exclaim “I was blind, but now I see,” Newton’s blindness was specifically to the damage of systemic racism, and his participation in it for economic gain. “Amazing Grace” is a song about one man’s sin — the sin of slavery. At the same time, it is a song about the power of forgiveness, a song about looking into the depths of evil and, even there, especially there, finding grace that is bigger than all the hate. –Derek Flood
That light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. –John 1:5
Amazing grace (how sweet the sound) that saved a wretch like me! I once was lost, but now am found, was blind, but now I see.
‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear and grace my fears relieved; how precious did that grace appear the hour I first believed!
Through many dangers, toils and snares I have already come: ’tis grace has brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home.
The Lord has promised good to me, his word my hope secures; he will my shield and portion be as long as life endures.
Yes, when this flesh and heart shall fail, and mortal life shall cease: I shall possess, within the veil, a life of joy and peace.
The earth shall soon dissolve like snow, the sun forbear to shine; but God, who called me here below, will be forever mine.