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.
One of my favorite things to do as a pastor is to speak words of absolution to the congregation or the homebound. After we confess we are in bondage to sin and cannot free ourselves, I get to declare freedom from guilt through “the entire forgiveness of all your sins.” Grace washes over us as the Spirit inhabits those performative words.
I felt that grace in a personal, profound way during a Cursillo weekend retreat in 1977. I was 23 and had been resisting God’s call to a deeper relationship all through my college years. During that weekend, I gave in. Kneeling in a chapel with just my table group, I prayed, “Come, Lord Jesus; keep coming,” as tears flowed. Later during worship, we sang, “Amazing Grace” and I felt like I was singing my life in the words: “I once was lost, but now am found.” Amazing grace reconciled and re-connected me to Jesus in a new and deeper way than ever before.
Thank you, Jesus, for making a way for God’s lost to be found. Continue to batter our defenses and melt our resistance, that we may freely walk in your ways. Together as your church, empower us to deliver your grace, mercy, and love to this broken world. Amen.