Luther Seminary God Pause
Saturday, 7/19/2014 Hymn: "Amazing Grace, how Sweet the Sound," ELW 779
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.
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'd first begun.>
The moving origins of this hymn are often recounted. It was written by an Anglican priest John Newton, who before his conversion once worked in the slave trade. But not all know that the lyrics of this hymn were joined to the tune as we know it in America, by the Southern Baptist hymnbook compiler William Walker, in his famed shapenote hymnbook, "The Southern Harmony."
Now wedded to the tune Old Britain, the hymn was sung by Christians settling in the new frontiers in the South. They endured the dangers and toils of pioneer life, confident that God had led them to this their new home.
For the Israelites, home was the promised land. In the parable of the prodigal son, home was reconciliation and love with the father. Having run away, the prodigal son was restored to his proper place in the family. Home is where we are loved and accepted in the midst of hardship. Home is with Jesus.
Word of God incarnate, you've gotten us this far, despite our propensity for wandering into dangers. We respond in gratitude, knowing that wherever you lead us we are at home in you. Amen.
Jason W. Talsness Pastor, Amazing Grace Lutheran Church, Lawrenceville, Ga. Master of Divinity, 1997
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