Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Chaplains Corner - May 2016: God's Amazing Grace

During most military funerals, the bag pipe player plays the hymn “Amazing Grace,” which was written by John Newton, a slave ship Captain. I thought it would make the hymn more meaningful to you if you knew the historical context of the hymn.

In the 1700s, John Newton went to sea with his father on a merchant ship. Soon after his father retired, Newton was drafted into service and served on a warship. During his career, he requested a transfer to a slave ship that was soon to set sail for Africa. Over the years he hardened himself to trafficking in human beings. He eventually became captain of his own slave ship. On May 10, 1748, his life was changed forever. His ship encountered a terrifying, violent storm. Just as it seemed that the ship would sink, Newton cried out loudly, “Lord, have mercy upon us!”

During that night in his cabin, he began to think seriously about God’s saving mercy, because he had experienced God’s amazing grace that was revealed to him by Christ’s sacrifice for his sins on the Cross. This experience led him to decide to accept Jesus Christ as his Savior and Lord. Later, he left the slave trade and became a preacher of the Christian gospel. He is most remembered for his lovely hymn “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. (Read Ephesians 2:1-10)

I hope this leaves you with John Newton and his lovely hymn, “Amazing Grace”. It tells us that anyone, at any time, can receive the gift of salvation and eternal life with God in heaven through faith In Jesus Christ. (adapted from Radio Bible Class Article by Dennis Fisher)

Love you all,
Chaplain John

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