When you believe passionately in a social cause or religious theology, it is often difficult to verbalize your thoughts. Strong emotions often accompany our deepest convictions, and though we can mentally sort through why we believe or feel the way we do, words are often painfully inadequate and devoid of the message we want to convey.
As Easter approaches, I am reminded of the source of my Christian beliefs. My grateful heart knows the depth of my love, but expressing it in the written word is exceptionally difficult. Though I feel compelled to share it with you, trying to find some order in my thoughts escapes me, and you would certainly miss the message.
For this reason, music is so important to us all. What we may not be able to express ourselves, some more gifted person was able to capture the essence of who we are, what we've experienced, what we are feeling or what we know to be true in music.
The original lyrics were written by the English poet and clergyman John Newton (1725–1807) and published in 1779. The words are timeless. Most likely there is not an artist around today who at some time in their musical career didn't record or sing "Amazing Grace".
My favorite rendition of this classic hymn adds the "my chains are gone" stanza in between the original verses, such as the recent piece by Christian recording artist Chris Tomlin: it is me...it is how I think and how I feel. The words express everything I know to be true...I've nothing to add, nothing to wordsmith. My God is indeed amazing.
How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost, but now I'm found
Was blind, but now I see
'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear
And grace my fears relieved
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed
My chains are gone
I've been set free
My God, my Savior has ransomed me
And like a flood His mercy rains
Unending love, Amazing grace
Laurel. Happy Easter.