It’s still considered the greatest Christian hymn ever written. Published in 1779 by former slave trader turned pastor and poet, John Newton, the lyrics of Amazing Grace strike a deep chord in most of our hearts. I have known men in bars, beaches, and alleys who know by heart, the first stanza,
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.
Why do we resonate with these words? When we read or sing these words, we are impacted by the reality that there is an “amazing grace” from God, through Jesus Christ, extended toward us. Whether we be saint or sinner, noble or savage, peaceful or bitter, God has placed this knowledge of His invisible attributes and grace over every person (Romans 1:19-21).
Secondly, we sing “That saved a wretch like me.” Few acknowledge it, even fewer want to hear about it, but each person knows they are sinful and broken. Even some of the most prideful narcissistic folks we know, nurse in the recesses of their heart the knowledge of their shame and sin.
Then we sing, “I once was lost, but now am found, / Was blind but now I see.” Everyone has played hide and seek; everyone has been in the darkness and felt lost. It’s the universal experience, like eating and sleeping. We’ve all been lost, and we’ve all been blind. But not all of us have been found.
The shooting by a crazed gunman at Club Q on November 19 in Colorado Springs killed five people and injured seventeen others and left our city shocked and saddened. The day after the shooting, a group of pastors and myself, went down to the club to pray and show our love to those families who were so impacted. It was a time to put amazing grace into action.
These are amazing grace moments in time. They are the times that bring us together in our common humanity, our common grace, and our common sin. We have all sinned; we have all been lost; we have all been blind. But for such dark times as these we bring Jesus to those in need. We bring Jesus to those who want to be found.
May we be amazing grace,