“Amazing grace, How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now I am found,
Was blind, but now I see.”
John Newton wrote these words in 1772. They were joined to the now familiar melody more than 60 years later, becoming one of the most widely known hymns in America. It has been sung with music arranged for a large worship band. But perhaps singing it without accompaniment best captures the spirit of the song, for it is a humble declaration of the powerful transformation God gives through his grace.
This first verse also echoes the joy of God described in the parable of the prodigal son. The father in the parable, represents God. His son leaves and squanders everything his father gave him. Starving, the son returns, hoping to be hired. But the father runs to him, embraces him as a son and throws a party. The father explains why he celebrates in Luke 15:24, “For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.” (NIV)
The hymn is a humble celebration. Only 21 of the 150 words used throughout the song are more than one syllable in length.* It doesn’t soar with fanciful lyrics or use profound phrases and highly educated words. It reflects the humble heart of one who recognizes how undeserved grace is. Take a moment to sing this verse as an offering to God.
*”Amazing Grace,” Wikipedia, Last updated Sept 9, 2022, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amazing_Grace
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Bumper music “Landing Place” performed by Mark July, used under license from Shutterstock.