I once was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see.
The words of the hymn can be sung with familiarity but without a sense of their fullness. I have a hard time calling myself a “wretch” and if you stand close to me you’ll probably hear me sing “wreck like me.” That is a truer depiction of who I can be in my life – a wreck in need of saving!
But these words were written by a former slave trader who knew very well what it meant to be a “wretch.” John Newton’s journey of living fully into God’s grace for his life was a slow one. He left the slave trade because of health problems, not moral dilemmas. Even after a revelation of God’s grace on his life, Newton continued to support slave trade. It would be three decades before he would fully live into the grace God offered him, a forgiveness and restoration marked by a changed and maturing faith life. We have this classic hymn because eventually grace grew roots in Newton’s life, and he became an ordained clergy who wrote hymns to be sung in his worship services. Newton’s is a life covered by grace, even when he didn’t know he needed it, convicting him and making him right with God when he came to realize his “wretched” self, and helping him grow into maturity in faith.
You, too, are covered by grace! From the moment you are born until the moment you die, God’s grace is pursing you. God’s grace covers you at your most beautiful moments and in your most “wretched” acts. God’s grace is available to you, even you, even there, even now, even then. There’s nowhere for you to go to escape the cover of God’s amazing grace.
This is good news!!!
Join us for the next three weeks as we look carefully at this core belief of the United Methodist Church – grace!
Pastor Becky Jo Messenbrink