The Wednesday Word Devotional – “Amazing Grace”
by Julie Hart, Director of Connectional Ministries
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. – Romans 6:23
The Sunday before last, Pastor David was out of town, and I was blessed to get to be the worship leader. I am not usually in the sanctuary during worship services, so it is always a special treat. It was during the 9:30 service that I had what we Emmaus folks call a “closest to Christ” moment. The choir was leading us in singing “Amazing Grace” and they sounded, well, amazing!
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.
As I was singing along, I looked out at over the congregation, and I was deeply moved. I have always loved that song, but the words that we were singing meant even more to me because the faces in the crowd have come to mean so very much to me in my own faith journey.
‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
and grace my fears relieved;
how precious did that grace appear
the hour I first believed.
I scanned the crowd as I sang and felt my eyes well up with tears because many of the people in the pews have shared their struggles with me. I have even prayed with and walked beside some of them as they have gone through the valleys of their lives —
Divorce, addiction, depression.
Cancer, covid, chronic pain.
Loss of a job, loss of a pet, loss of a spouse, loss of a child.
Through many dangers, toils, and snares,
I have already come;
’tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,
and grace will lead me home.
I thought about what I did know about what some of those men and women have been through and I thought about how many of them (how many of you) are going through things that I have no idea about. Quietly coping, silently suffering, but still singing.
The Lord has promised good to me,
his word my hope secures;
he will my shield and portion be,
as long as life endures.
“Amazing Grace” is a song about coming to faith. It is a message of forgiveness and hope. No matter what sins we have committed or messes we have made of things, we are redeemed. No matter the struggles we are going through, our faith carries us through because we know how it all ends.
Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
and mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess, within the veil,
a life of joy and peace.
And then came the final verse. Voltaire pounding on the keys; the choir belting it out; all of us singing and truly believing.
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.
Amazing grace. How sweet was the sound of all of you singing. With all of the weight that you carry on your shoulders, and all of the hurt that you hold in your hearts, your souls still singing so sweetly was a beautiful gift to me and I thank you for that.
In Romans 6:23, we read, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
I only have two questions for you to think about this week, but they are big ones:
-Knowing that God promise is eternal life, how does that help you to think about death?
-If nothing is required of you to receive this grace, why is it that you still chose to live a righteous life?
I know that I have done nothing to deserve the grace that you have given me — the grace pursues me, the grace that forgives me, and the grace that sanctifies me. I thank you for your amazing grace and the many ways that it continues to show up in my life. May that same grace that is given to me also flow through me.