Tomorrow is Youth Sunday at our church and Beth, M.L. and I have been working feverishly on a program for the kids to do. Beth found an awesome book that had a great program on the song, "Amazing Grace" and then found another book....so with the help of the world wide web and the two books I have put together a program on one of the most popular songs ever....."Amazing Grace." In my research I was really surprised at all I learned about the song....it is a common hymn tune...and can be sung to other tunes.....I know this because at ASP one year....we learned the song to the tune of "Gilligans Island"....try it...it works. I also learned "Jesus Loves Me" to the "Flintstones" tune that same year. Anyways...back on track....in my research I discovered that the writer of the words to the song, John Newton, was a very colorful character.
"Amazing Grace" was first heard on New Year's Day in 1773. The song itself was written without "ceremony" in an attic room where Newton wrote weekly hymns to amplify the message of his sermons. When Newton put the internal rhyme "amazing grace" together, it wasn't purely for poetic reasons. He understood grace to mean God's unmerited favor to lost souls. This was a meaning Newton — with his sordid history and personal tale of redemption — could take to heart. Newton supplied the lyrics, but the tune sung today arrived much later. The actual song, in Newton's day, would have been sung "to another song that fit its meter" — if it were sung at all. Have you ever just spoken the words to this song? I did the other day when I was timing our program....and let me tell you.....it is powerful. "Amazing Grace" continued to be associated with a number of different tunes throughout much of the 19th century. In 1835, "...the tune that we now sing... was married to the words of John Newton," I truly believe that the early popularity of "Amazing Grace" in America is attributed to the religious revivalism of that period and to the power of the first verse. In America, according to John Newton, "the conversion experience is more prominent and more important, and this is the absolute perfect song to accompany a conversion of that sort… 'I once was lost but now 'I'm found. I was blind but now I see…' It seems to be the definitive song of the personal conversion experience. "Amazing Grace" has been featured on more than 1,100 albums. The song reached the pop charts in the United Kingdom and the United States when Judy Collins released her version in 1971. It was another time of turbulence as U.S. military forces were mired in an unpopular war in Vietnam. In her forward to Turner's book, Judy Collins says the song has the "power to transform" and to heal. Something magical happens when you sing it, don't you agree? So, on Sunday our youth are going to sing, tell about, and share scriptures that relate to "Amazing Grace," and hopefully when the morning is over the congregation will leave and believe that Grace is God's Rewards at Christ's Expense. What an awesome gift....How truly amazing the concept of grace is.
To Joey, With Love....WINNER!
7 months ago