Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Amaze with "Amazing Grace"

Twice last week I listened to the singing of the revelatory "Amazing Grace." First at a graveside memorial service in a rain-anointed rural cemetery; then as a prelude to an hour of silent Quaker worship.

In both cases, the anthem was rendered as a dirge, podding, almost sleep-walking through John Newton's timeless lyrics.

Out of curiosity, I've hunted the web for an uptempo version. I haven't found one. Not Mahalia Jackson, not Ray Charles, not Aretha Franklin. Talk about amazing. The closest was Louis Armstrong's Dixieland lyric-less funeral march version.

Here's a hymn about being awakened. Imagine you are blind and now SEE! Imagine being lost and then FOUND!

This is no dirge! This is rejoicing, full of hosannas and hallelujahs!

Sure, start out slow if you like. The pace could reflect a slowly unfolding revelation. Let it build. But when grace is bestowed and embraced, kick it up!

These words swing. Listen!

A...MAAAA....ZING....GRACE! Can't you hear it?

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.

T'was Grace that taught my heart to fear.

And Grace, my fears relieved.

How precious did that Grace appear

The hour I first believed.

Through many dangers, toils and snares

I have already come;

'Tis Grace that brought me safe thus far

and Grace will lead me home.

The Lord has promised good to me.

His word my hope secures.

He will my shield and portion be,

As long as life endures.

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.

When we've been here ten thousand years

Bright shining as the sun.

We've no less days to sing God's praise

Than when we've first begun.

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!

John Newton (1725-1807)

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1 Comments:

Blogger Diane said...

Don't forget about Gene Harris' version on his "In His Hands" album. It's more upbeat!
Diane

10:31 AM  

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