Luther Seminary God Pause
Sunday, 7/20/2014 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 final verse of this hymn was not included in the LBW but is included in the ELW edition; they belong not to the hymn's original composer, but are instead a uniquely American addition.
The first written account of this verse being included in "Amazing Grace" appears in the novel Uncle Tom's Cabin. Having been mocked by his owner for his childlike trust in God, Tom stares at the fire and has a vision of the suffering Christ. Beams of light emanate from the thorns in Jesus' crown, and Tom hears a voice saying that he too will be clothed in glory. When Tom awakens, the fire has gone out, but the hymn "Amazing Grace" rings in his ears, ending with this verse.
Shining holiness is found throughout scripture and Christian tradition, from Moses to the Transfiguration, to the saints in heaven, on whom perpetual light is shining. A vision of eternal glory lifts us out of our suffering, drawing us toward God.
Holy God, in the face of Christ we see your glory. In the cross of Christ you redeemed the world through his suffering and death. May your love shine in our lives all the way to eternity. Amen.
Jason W. Talsness Pastor, Amazing Grace Lutheran Church, Lawrenceville, Ga. Master of Divinity, 1997
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