Amazing Grace is one of the most beautiful and uplifting songs in the western world.
Here is my favorite recorded version, Judy Collins singing Amazing Grace a capella (without accompaniment):
The man who penned the words, John Newton, had been an Atlantic Sea slave trader, and knew that he was indeed the worst of wretches!
Every guitarist should learn to play this beautiful hymn. I have it here in two keys friendly to the beginning guitar player who doesn't use a capo.
The timing of the notation may look kind of funny; that's because I always double the note values for my beginners in order to avoid eighth notes. There's enough going on with learning guitar that I don't want timing to be an issue -- although this is a well-known tune, a lot of kids have not heard it.
A recent book and movie, "Amazing Grace", tells the almost unknown story of how one Englishman, William Wilberforce, forced Parliament and the whole British nation to really SEE the horror of the slave trade. Until Wilberforce, slavery had been common at all times, in all places, and in all cultures.
Only after many years was he successful in persuading Parliament to outlaw --not slavery-- but the slave TRADE, which marked the beginning of the end for legal slavery in England, and ultimately all nations with a Christian heritage.
Christian heritage? Yes -- for the sacred texts of the Christian faith claim that there is inherent equality of all souls before God... as Job said (Job 31:15),
"Did not He who made me in the womb make him?" ...and as Paul the apostle told the Galatians (Galatians 3:27-28),
"For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus."
Though it is a popular funeral hymn, the meaning of the words "how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me," can touch all hearts in times of despair or in times of gratefulness.
With a message of God's grace freely extended to all, perhaps it is the most comforting of hymns suitable for a funeral, or for a general worship service.
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