Amazing Grace (ELW 779)
1 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.
2 'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
and grace my fears relieved;
how precious did that grace appear
the hour I first believed!
3 Through many dangers, toils, and snares
I have already come;
'tis grace has brought me safe thus far,
and grace will lead me home.
4 The Lord has promised good to me;
his word my hope secures;
he will my shield and portion be
as long as life endures.
5 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.
Text: John Newton, 1725-1807, alt., sts. 1-4; anonymous, st. 5
God's amazing grace has so often come to me unexpected and "from the side" — from friends who bless me by saying, "God loves you no matter what"; from strangers at the grocery store who insist, even when the day seems rotten, "God is good, all the time. All the time, God is good"; from a young Muslim hospital chaplain who asked me, as I was going into surgery, if it was okay if she prayed for me in Jesus' name; from President Obama at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, who sang "Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me!" This, despite the fact that, for all the world looking on, the white supremacist murderer sitting in jail was the real wretch, and many were asking, "Who in the world can save him?!"
God can. God does. Presidents, former persecutors of the church like Paul, and sinners like you and me can't help but proclaim, "The Lord has promised good." No matter what!
Holy God, we praise you for your grace-filled goodness toward us. Be with us always. Amen.