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Old 07-10-2007, 09:09 PM
 
Location: Warwick, NY
1,173 posts, read 5,430,439 times
Reputation: 961

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Another thread here got me thinking on the thing has helped me come to understand Christianity more than anything else. Even more, perhaps, than the Bible itself.

It's Amazing Grace. I first heard this hymn as a child listening to my mom's Judy Collins record and it struck me as singularly beautiful. Nothing like the other plodding hymns we'd sing when my grandmother dragged me to church. Amazing Grace has a happy melody, beautiful in its humble simplicity.

There is no pretense or irony in Amazing Grace and the words themselves are perfectly joined to the melody. The first stanza speaks with stark humility of the joy at even hearing the name of God and that God would care for even the most unfortunate, comparing faith in God with gaining sight.

The second stanza speaks of the moment faith was discovered and the profound amazement in God's love for someone as low as the writer.

At first I thought Amazing Grace was a very old hymn but it really isn't. It was written in the 1700s by a man who was, of all things, a slave trader.

I still have a hard time believing that a man involved in the lowest form of human trade, a man who unloaded how many dead bodies from his ship, a man who made gold out of the misery of others, could write such a testament of faith and then it occured to me that I was ignoring a facet of God that too often goes unspoken and that is the person of the Holy Spirit.

I truly believe that Amazing Grace is divinely inspired by the Holy Spirit speaking through the newly saved John Newton. I sense the hand of God in this hymn more than in any other and to me, it's as authentic as the words from the prophets of old.

Bill Moyers did a show devoted entirely to the hymn and its various versions. He interviewed singers, theologians, clergy, and common every day people about what Amazing Grace means to them and I was a bit shocked to find so many people found this one hymn held so dearly in their hearts and minds. Amazing Grace has crossed generations, cultures, and continents yet the effect is remarkably the same: a sense of intimate association with the joy of salvation; as if the hymn sings the personal revelation of the grace we feel in God's love; a grace so special that it is too personal to speak of to others.

My favorite verse is, ironically, not one of Newton's at all, but one possibly by Harriet Beecher Stowe:
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’ve first begun
.
This verse does a great job of helping to visualize what heaven must be like. Ten thousand years is a lot easier to imagine than eons and eons, but then it says that even then there will always be ten thousand more years. More than that, those days will be, "bright shining as the sun." That's another mental image easy to conjur in the mind and I easily find it a happy image at that. In all, Amazing Grace brings me the most comfort and assurance in times of sadness and anxiety. If knowledge of salvation is my rod, then Amazing Grace is my staff in the Valley of the Shadow.

I would love to hear the personal stories of what Amazing Grace means to others here, whether you love the hymn or hate it.

Thank you!
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Old 07-10-2007, 10:50 PM
 
Location: Between Here and There
3,684 posts, read 10,840,329 times
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I love that song. I don't ever remember being taught it but I've known all the words since I was really young. I guess hearing it so many times in church I just learned it with out knowing.

Here's some You tube renditions if anyone wants to listen:


YouTube - Leann Rimes - Amazing Grace


YouTube - Aerosmith Steven Tyler Singing Amazing Grace


YouTube - Amazing Grace on Bagpipes

Did anyone see the movie? I haven't gotten a chance yet.
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Old 07-11-2007, 12:11 AM
 
Location: Warwick, NY
1,173 posts, read 5,430,439 times
Reputation: 961
Heard this one by
Nana Mouskouri? The Greek Nightingale outdoes herself. The setting helps too.

As for bagpipes, I either like it lone or with
all the stops pulled out. Pity the recording is so bad.

In
Inuit! Gorgeous photography too!


The Queen of Soul (pity it's only a clip)


The Queen of Gospel (WOW!)

Short of the bagpipes, the
Judy Collins version is still my favorite.
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Old 07-11-2007, 12:23 AM
 
Location: Maine
15,078 posts, read 19,718,275 times
Reputation: 17188
My favorite version:


YouTube - Dropkick Murphys - Amazing Grace (Live!)
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Old 07-11-2007, 12:41 AM
 
Location: Warwick, NY
1,173 posts, read 5,430,439 times
Reputation: 961
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark S. View Post
Why Mark! You're a punk!

My estimation of your taste has risen immeasurably.
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Old 07-11-2007, 01:01 AM
 
Location: Maine
15,078 posts, read 19,718,275 times
Reputation: 17188
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason_Els View Post
Why Mark! You're a punk!
That hasn't come through by now? Oi!
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Old 07-11-2007, 01:09 AM
 
Location: Warwick, NY
1,173 posts, read 5,430,439 times
Reputation: 961
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark S. View Post
That hasn't come through by now? Oi!
Perhaps it has. I've sadly neglected a few of your 2,095 posts.
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Old 07-11-2007, 01:11 AM
 
Location: Maine
15,078 posts, read 19,718,275 times
Reputation: 17188
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason_Els View Post
Perhaps it has. I've sadly neglected a few of your 2,095 posts.
Well, hey, it's only 3 AM in New York. Get ta readin'.
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Old 07-11-2007, 01:16 AM
 
Location: Warwick, NY
1,173 posts, read 5,430,439 times
Reputation: 961
The only reason I'm awake right now is because one of the puppies peed on my bed and I only have one set of summer sheets, which are now in the washing machine.
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Old 07-11-2007, 01:32 AM
 
Location: Warwick, NY
1,173 posts, read 5,430,439 times
Reputation: 961
To hell with it, I put the winter sheets on. I'm tired.
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