This week I’ve really enjoyed sharing with you the story of the hymn “Amazing Grace.” The lyrics were written by the former captain of a ship that hauled captives between Africa and the United States. Those captive were sold as slaves. Following his conversion and study of theology, John Newton wrote six verses to the hymn. His last verse was this:
“The earth shall soon dissolve like snow,
The sun forbear to shine;
But God, who call’d me here below,
Will be forever mine.”
You may be confused. Because this is not the final verse most of us sing. The last verse of the hymn was written long after Newton. Slaves in America created it. They passed it down orally for at least 50 years before Harriet Beecher Stowe included it in her anti-slavery novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin.* Here are the words,
“When we’ve been there ten thousand years
Bright shining as the sun,
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Than when we’ve first begun.”
The grace of God changed the heart of a vile, obscene, slave ship captain and he created one of the most favorite hymns in America. And the grace of God enlightened the hearts of slaves to create the final verse which rings with eternal hope. Sometimes, you just have to stop marvel at what God has done through his grace. How is he changing your heart?
*”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.