7 Jun 2020
Amazing Grace & Redemption
With divisions of life hovering over the world we look back at how life can be transformed even by those with worst-intentions. This past week was pressed tripled with issues of burdens, a 20 year member lost her leg, a priest young son born 9 weeks premature at 1.9 pounds, there was anguish.
In this week we took to the words of a slave-trader back in 1775 who after a near death experience brought him to the cross of Jesus finding redemption. John Newton was a man who bought and sold human beings, treating them worse than cattle, misery and death was his trademark but in this unthinkable delight he found redemption as penned in words he wrote “Amazing Grace”.
In all of life circumstances there is hope of redemption but redemption does not come via social-media protest but change that can be found in God's redemption. The world as we know it will continue to be propelled by angry voices whose only interest is their own political profile, but I again repair to Newton words...
Amazing grace! how sweet the sound,
That sav’d a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.
Newton in his quest for redemption looked back at the pain, misery and death he caused but with an open heart. Simple you might say, be we must begin somewhere, and creating havoc is not the way to redemption, hear Newton again...
’Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved;
How precious did that grace appear,
The hour I first believed!
The tide of battles we face sometimes lead us to a path of our own destruction adding more pain than when it first-began, but we must find the path of encouragement to help others in pain. What do you say to a father whose son was born grossly underweight or a dear 74 year old whose leg was amputated and thoughts of life ending measures came to her mind; no one is protesting their plight but it is there. We will never escape life’s drudgery or its torrents. We feel sometimes that God is passing us by, but rest assured he remains with us, whatever our ills, we must never give-up.
The pandemic found its way into our lives; it has wrecked life as we know it but we must be constant in our prayers.
I urge those who turn misfortune into protest for whatever their cause to refine themselves to the willing hand-of-God, and if there is doubt, look to the despicable former-slave-trader who found redemption 225 years ago, with words of relief, hear John-Newton for the last time...
Thro’ many dangers, toils and snares,
I have already come;
’Tis grace has brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.
++Hartley, Presiding Bishop of the ACW