Amazing Grace

My favorite church hymn is Amazing Grace.  I even have the music framed over our piano.

Amazing Grace.

This song, or at least the lyrics, were written by John Newton, a sailor who worked in the slave trade.  He was not particularly religious, but had started his spiritual conversion after calling out to God one night after the ship he was on was almost lost at sea in a terrible storm.

The lyrics were published in the late 1700s, but the New Britain music most commonly associated with the original verses did not get published until later.  At least one additional verse was added by Harriet Beecher Stowe in her anti-slavery novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin written in 1852.  By the time this influential book was published, this hymn had been widely sung in the African American community for 50 years.

Interesting that the lyrics, a poem actually, were written by a slave trader, but became emblematic of the sufferings of the slave.

For me, the analogous meaning in the lyrics are powerful.  We don’t sing this hymn at our church very often, and the timing this week was emotional for us.  We are one of those families who sits in the same pew every week.  We have our church pew friends.  We have watched the family in front of us raise their kids, seen them marry (and leave the church pew), and bring back grandchildren.

The father, Jim, was diagnosed with esophageal cancer last Fall.  His cancer treatment since then has been arduous.  He has been in significant pain, and has been unable to sleep or eat.  This past week, he went on hospice care.  We are praying for him, his wife, Jean, and their family.  My hope is that Jim’s immense suffering and pain ends soon.

Amazing Grace Lyrics
John Newton (1725-1807)
Stanza 6 anon.

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.

T’was 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 that 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.

Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.

When we’ve been here ten thousand years
Bright shining as the sun.
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Than when we’ve first begun.

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.

Share on Facebook

This entry was posted in Musings. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Amazing Grace

Leave a Reply