1 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.
2 'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
and grace my fears relieved;
how precious did that grace appear
the hour I first believed!
3 Through many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come:
'tis grace has brought me safe thus far,
and grace will lead me home.
4 The Lord has promised good to me,
his word my hope secures;
he will my shield and portion be
as long as life endures.
5 Yes, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
and mortal life shall cease:
I shall possess, within the veil,
a life of joy and peace.
6 The earth shall soon dissolve like snow,
the sun forbear to shine;
but God, who called me here below,
will be forever mine.
Ancient & Modern, 2013
|First Line:||Amazing grace! (how sweet the sound)|
|Author:||John Newton (1779)|
|Liturgical Uses:||Confession Songs, Communion Songs|
|Article:||Amazing Grace: a journey in time and faith by David Douglas (from "The Hymn")|
Newton was ordained for ministry in the Church of England in the early 1760s, and in 1779, collaborated with William Cowper to publish the Olney Hymns, one of whch was the now famous "Amazing Grace." Originally titled “Faith’s Review and Expectations,” Newton’s hymn included six stanzas. Most hymnals today use the first four stanzas from Newton’s text, as well as a fifth anonymous stanza first found in A Collection of Sacred Ballads (1790), and sung along with Newton’s text ever since. The original text has not been much altered, though some additions have been made – Chris Tomlin’s added refrain, for example: “My chains are gone, I’ve been set free - my God my Savior has ransomed me. And like a flood, his mercy reigns; unending love, amazing grace.”
The Appalachian tune NEW BRITAIN first appeared in Southern Harmony; in a later edition, it was also evidently set to Newton’s text for the first time. The modern harmonization is credited to Edwin Othello Excell, who is also credited with first attaching the final stanza in his 1910 Coronation Hymns.
One of, if not the most popular hymn in the United States, this hymn has been performed by countless artists and arranged to many different styles. Because of its simple folk melody, it can be sung as a round, and it also works well to sing at least one verse a cappella.
“Amazing Grace” is a powerful hymn of profession of God’s grace and mercy, and can be sung throughout the liturgical year. It could be sung as a hymn of response to the assurance of pardon, as a confession of faith, or after a sermon on salvation or grace. It’s also often sung as a hymn of comfort in times of distress, and so could work well as a response to lament, or as a hymn of assurance at funerals.
Some songs that could be paired with this hymn in a worship service are “Grace Unmeasured” by Sovereign Grace Ministries, “Your Grace Is Enough” by Chris Tomlin, “When I think about the Lord” by Hillsong United, and so many more songs that speak about Christ’s redemptive work in us.
Laura de Jong, Hymnary.org