In the meantime you can enjoy one of the many, many performances of the hymn by pipers: And here’s an arrangement, also with bagpipes, sung by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, which my own choir has also performed: If you don't currently support another organization through Amazon, may I suggest that you use the link below for your Amazon shopping to support this site? Following the appropriation of the hymn in secular music, "Amazing Grace" became such an icon in American culture that it has been used for a variety of secular purposes and marketing campaigns, placing it in danger of becoming a cliché. It has been mass-produced on souvenirs, lent its name to a Superman villain, appeared on The Simpsons to demonstrate the redemption of a murderous character named Sideshow Bob, incorporated into Hare Krishna chants and adapted for Wiccaceremonies. “Amazing Grace” is one of the most beloved hymns of the last two centuries. “Amazing Grace” is a hymn that’s recognizable to almost every American, regardless of religious background. So I’ll go ahead and give you this interesting tidbit now, since I promised it in the title. Grace is what saves you, holds you and, finally, gets you Home before the dark. 25. So it is with John Newton. Oh man! This article simply shares my personal opinions, as to why this is so. WHAT'S SO AMAZING ABOUT GRACE- Grace is a word with a deep and wide meaning and an even farther reach. The Navy did not treat desertion lightly; otherwise they’d have had no sailors left. When there was a death in the line of duty for these dangerous jobs, a way of reminding the neighborhood of these men’s heritage was to play the traditional bagpipes. He “did not get along” with the crew of the Pegasus, so much so that he was left in Africa with a slave trader named Amos Clowe, who promptly “gave” Newton as a slave to his African wife, Princess Peye. (Yes, Ireland has bagpipes too.) The song was used at marches during the civil rights movement and gained popularity among those protesting the Vietnam War. Military life apparently didn’t suit Newton (although how it could be even harder than life on a merchant ship is beyond me), and he tried to desert. What’s not to like? God’s grace is amazing because it is an undeserved and free gift. Some sailors, perhaps taking refuge in grim humor, called themselves “steelbacks,” a reference to their ability to withstand flogging. Amazing Grace Part II: How did a hymn written by a former slave trader become an icon of the civil rights movement? Webmaster: firstname.lastname@example.org (General Inquiries). Real life, however, is seldom if ever so simple and straightforward. (Yes, Ireland has bagpipes too.) Probably everyone who’s attended some kind of Christian funeral has heard this hymn, as it’s especially popular for those occasions. Military life apparently didn’t suit Newton (although how it could be even harder than life on a merchant ship is beyond me), and he tried to desert. Was that ever a bad move! A beautiful, inspiring story. Early in 1748 Newton was rescued by a sea captain who had been sent by his father to search for John. I know this all sounds like something out of Grimm’s Fairy Tales, but it’s attested to in multiple sources. I guess there was some residual fatherly feeling there, in spite of everything. It is the exact opposite of what we deserve; there is nothing we can do to earn or merit it. To start, then, Newton had a childhood that would horrify us today but whose main elements were all too common at the time of his birth in 1725. It can al… And the beating was probably carried out with the multi-tailed whip called the “cat o’ nine tails,” so the actual lashes were multiplied by that number. Then there’s the backstory to the song, which contains drama and irony in about equal parts: John Newton, a slave trader, is converted to Christianity and leaves his dreadful business, becoming a part of the anti-slavery movement. Now, at age 20, Newton was participating directly in the transport and sale of human beings. "Amazing Grace" has become a pop, folk and gospel standard since Englishman John Newton, a slave trader-turned-abolitionist, wrote the words in … It has deep meaning for millions, across all races and backgrounds, and has long united and comforted our nation in times of sorrow. stripped to the waist and tied to the grating, he received a flogging of eight dozen lashes and was reduced to the rank of a common seaman. Popular funeral songs for the bagpipes include "Amazing Grace," "Danny Boy," "Flowers of the Forest," "Going Home," "My Lagan Love," and "The Mountains of Mourne." Newton the younger was having none of this settling down on a sugar plantation. He apparently liked being at sea and got himself a position on another merchant ship. With all this background in mind, then, it’s understandable that Newton was determined to escape again. This is why grace is truly something amazing and worth taking note of. The song and the instrument became intertwined, and never the twain have parted! “Amazing Grace” is one of the most beloved and well-known spiritual songs of all time, so it is not surprising that many choose to have it played at their memorial services. We’ve all made mistakes, and continue to make them. Smith … We have grace periods for paying our bills. It applied to Chuck Colson, who, as Nixon ' s "hatchet man," had the reputation for being willing to "run over his own grandmother" to gain reelection. On any given Sunday, there are thousands of congregations singing it, even 236 years after it was published. But now another twist in his story arises, as he got impressed into the British Navy in 1743. This practice was very common and indeed sanctioned by the government as a means of keeping Her Majesty’s Navy fully staffed. When English clergyman John Newton wrote the song in 1772, he wrote it as a poem that emphasizes one of the key points of Protestant doctrine: Salvation comes solely through the grace of God. Would I love to know more about this! But now another twist in his story arose, as he got impressed, that is, drafted by force, into the British Navy in 1743. Learn the story behind Amazing Grace, read the complete lyrics and watch a … I’m sure if I delved into this story more deeply I could find out why Newton’s father wanted him to do this; another fractal layer would be exposed. (The smaller, lighter boys were considered especially suited for this last task.) But however it happened, Newton spent over two years being abused and mistreated by the Princess, treatment that she doled out to all of her slaves. Jesus said, "Healthy people don ' t need a doctor—sick people do. In this article, I will discuss how that fact came to be. People love the concept of grace. Copyright 2020 The Cherry Creek Chorale Inc. Sign up for occasional announcements and concert reminders. The more you delve into a person’s actions the more complicated and messy they become. And you can see why. You can be sure that Newton did not spend his days watching the seagulls or sitting in his father’s cabin reading books! His mother died of tuberculosis when he was seven years old, leaving him under the care of his stern sea-captain father who sent him off to boarding school for a couple of years and then took him to live with himself and his new wife. He was born in London and after a life which included being press-ganged into the navy, flogged and becoming a skipper of a boat plying the slave trade, was converted to religion and became a minister. Newton Sr.’s ship was apparently not involved directly in the African slave trade, but I think it must have carried sugar from the Caribbean to Britain as part of the “triangular trade” that had one leg going to Africa to trade goods for slaves, then the second taking slaves to North America and the Caribbean to work on plantations, then the third taking the sugar to Britain. Its popularity helped increase sales of Yancey's 2000 book Reaching for the Invisible God, which appeared on religion bestseller lists immediately after publication. We all love a good redemption story, don’t we? Early in 1748 Newton was rescued by a sea captain who had been sent by his father to search for John. 303-789-5920 Probably everyone who’s attended some kind of Christian funeral has heard this hymn, as it’s especially popular for those occasions. Let it be observed, that the poor creatures, thus cramped for want of room, are likewise in irons, for the most part both hands and feet, and two together, which makes it difficult for them to turn or move, to attempt either to rise or to lie down, without hurting themselves, or each other. I know this all sounds like something out of Grimm’s Fairy Tales, but it’s attested to in multiple sources. So. I guess there was some residual fatherly feeling there, in spite of everything. Unsubscribe at any time. The powerful lyrics remind us that because of Jesus, none of us are ever lost because God is with us always. Eight dozen is 96! When there was a death in the line of duty for these dangerous jobs, a way of reminding the neighborhood of these men’s heritage was to play the traditional bagpipes. But however it happened, Newton spent over two years being abused and mistreated by the Princess, treatment that she doled out to all of her slaves.