Most of my life I’ve sung the familiar hymn “Amazing Grace.” However, not until several years ago did I realize I’d been singing one word wrong all this time. I wholeheartedly sang “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wrench like me!”
I could never understand why I was a wrench. Was I a metaphor for a tool or an object used for fixing? No matter how I thought about it, a wrench would not need saving. Finally, when I was in college, I understood that the word was wretch not wrench.
“Amazing Grace” invites us to call ourselves a wretch—“a miserable, despicable or vile person, and one who is profoundly unhappy or in great misfortune.” Isn’t it funny that almost everyone chosen by God in the Bible is, indeed, a wretch? If I had continued to think the word was “wrench,” I wouldn’t have to come to terms with the idea of being considered a miserable person. But the rest of the hymn holds the key to our being more than a miserable identity. God’s amazing grace is the heart of Christ’s birth, death, and resurrection. Through Christ we find redemption and forgiveness. Through the grace of Christ we are made new.
Isn’t it beautiful to know that so many times God saw enough in us to stick with grace? Knowing this, our lives should be defined by gratitude. We should glorify God by living, giving, helping, and loving one another.
At the end of his life, John Newton, who wrote “Amazing Grace,” said, “My memory is nearly gone, but I remember two things: that I am a great sinner, and that Christ is a great savior.” Let us remember the same, and be moved by the goodness of God’s grace in our lives.
Where have you experienced God’s grace? How can you live, give, help, and love as an expression of gratitude for God’s grace?
Gracious God, thank you for all that you are, all you have done, and all you continue to do in our lives and in our world. May it ever be so. Amen.