It was an historic moment in the history of the United States and in the history of the entire world! Viewers around the globe wept when President Obama led the world to sing “Amazing Grace” at the funeral of Reverend Clementa Pinckney, this week in South Carolina. Rev. Pinckney was one of nine people massacred in a race hate crime.
“Amazing Grace” is one of the oldest hymns sung in many churches in the United States. Historically, African-Americans were not allowed in white churches, so they formed separate denominations for worship. For African-Americans, “Amazing Grace” became a hymnal of deliverance from slavery and racial oppression. Ironically, it was written in 1779 by John Newton, a captain of an English slave ship, after his vessel was delivered by “grace” from a major storm. 1
The first verse of the song is well known by many:
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.
’Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved;
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed.
Through many dangers, toils and snares,
I have already come;
’Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.
President Obama honored the South Carolina victims and made an incredible address to the world about race and race relations in America. (Download: Remarks by the President in Eulogy for the Honorable Reverend Clementa Pinckney )
“The alleged killer could not imagine how the city of Charleston, under the good and wise leadership of Mayor Riley — (applause) — how the state of South Carolina, how the United States of America would respond — not merely with revulsion at his evil act, but with big-hearted generosity and, more importantly, with a thoughtful introspection and self-examination that we so rarely see in public life.
Blinded by hatred, he failed to comprehend what Reverend Pinckney so well understood — the power of God’s grace. (Applause.)”
Then, in an incredible moment, he led the WORLD in song.
An amazing moment!
Amazing Grace: The Story of John Newton by Al Rogers http://www.anointedlinks.com/amazing_grace.html