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.
Today the texts for this week come together. For those of us with plenty to eat and sufficient shelter, is the metaphor of a shepherd still one that can help us glimpse God more clearly? For those of us who seem to have plenty of agency in our lives, do we need to be led to good pasture, guided and protected?
This hymn is a reminder that even those who seem to have so much still need a shepherd. John Newton, conscripted into military service, and then a slave trader, faced his mortality in a violent storm off the coast of Ireland. He begged for God's mercy, and eventually found his way to ordination as a minister. For him, the grace of God became a precious gift.
"Tis grace has brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home." In you, Jesus, we see a God who brings life from death, and who will not let us go. Our own agency will not save us, but you, our shepherd, create, welcome, and sustain us. In you, we are home. Amen.