Sunday, April 6, 2014

Amazing grace

This Saturday at the Yoga Farm, following the meditation and chanting, they had a talent show by some of the resident staff members.  One of the staff members, Hara Mahadev, shared a story about the background of the famous hymn Amazing Grace by John Newton.  He had researched Newton's life and narrated various snippets of it.

Newton had spent a good part of his life at sea and working in the slave trade and was later instrumental in getting the slave trade abolished.  His entire life was marked by much strife and upheaval including his mother's death when he was 7, his time as a slave in Africa and his subsequent rescue from that situation, and the miraculous saving of his ship from sinking during a storm.  Newton denied that the slave trade was the background for Amazing Grace.

Many of the details that Hara shared don't exactly match the articles I find on the 'net about this subject.  In fact, I also came across several different versions of the hymn.  Here are Hara's notes from his research on this subject.  And the following is the version of the hymn that he used.

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.

'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears reliev'd;
How precious did that grace appear,
The hour I first believ'd!

Thro' many dangers, toils and snares,
I have already come;
'Tis grace has brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.

The Lord has promis'd good to me,
His word my hope secures;
He will my shield and portion be,
As long as life endures.

And when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease;
I shall possess, within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.

The earth shall soon dissolve like snow,
The sun forbear to shine;
But God, who call'd me here below,
Will be forever mine.

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