Amazing Grace

After a long period of grey clouds and heavy rainfall, it was such a joy to welcome blue sky and sunshine. I hope that farmers who desperately sought this blessing, will have time to plant the harvest. We all respond positively to light and fine weather. It’s proven, even psychologically, that light is a stimulus for better mental health. God’s grace, is abundantly felt in the awakening of nature this springtime. The foliage has reappeared reminding us that God’s light is brighter than any winter darkness. The following narrative speaks about God’s Amazing Grace.

John Newton was a cruel and vile man who seemed beyond hope, but he became an example of God’s amazing grace. His true story gives me hope, because his heart and life were so radically changed. The same amazing grace that transformed Newton brought hope to his contemporaries and still reaches our generation with hope today. Newton was a man of whom I could believe that if God would give him a hope and a future, then He will do the same for us all.

In Newton’s own words from his diary…(March 21, 1748): “On that day the Lord sent from on high and delivered me out of deep waters.” And 57 years to the day later… (March 21, 1805): “Not well able to write; but I endeavour to observe the return of this day with humiliation, prayer, and praise.”

Of Newton and his ministry… from

“Only God’s Amazing Grace could and would take a rude, profane, slave-trading sailor and transform him into a child of God. Newton never ceased to stand in awe of God’s work in his life. In 1764, at the age of  thirty-nine, John Newton began forty-three years of preaching the Gospel of Christ. In 1779 Newton left Olney to become rector of St. Mary Woolnoth in London. His ministry included not only the London poor and the merchant class but also the wealthy and influential. William Wilberforce, a member of Parliament and a prime mover in the abolition of slavery, was strongly influenced by John Newton’s life and preaching. Newton’s ‘Thoughts on the African Slave Trade,’ based on his own experiences as a slave trader, was very important in securing British abolition of slavery. Missionaries William Carey and Henry Martyn also gained strength from Newton’s counsel. For the Sunday evening services, Newton often composed a hymn which developed the lessons and Scripture for the evening. In 1779, two hundred and eighty of these were collected and combined with sixty-eight hymns by Newton’s friend and parishioner, William Cowper, and published as the Olney Hymns.

The most famous of all the Olney Hymns, ‘Faith’s Review and Expectation,’ grew out of David’s exclamation in 1 Chronicles 17:16-17. We know it today as ‘Amazing Grace.’ Newton lived to be eighty-two years old and continued to preach and have an active ministry until beset by fading health in the last two or three years of his life. Even then, Newton never ceased to be amazed by God’s grace and told his friends, ‘My memory is  nearly gone; but I remember two things: That I am a great sinner, and that Christ is a great Saviour.’” The words of the beloved hymn penned by John Newton acknowledges God’s amazing grace as he experienced in his own life.


“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. T’was grace that taught my heart to fear and grace my fears relieved. How precious did that grace appear the hour I first believed. Thru many dangers, toils, and snares I have already come, ‘Tis grace has brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home. When we’ve been there ten thousand years bright shining as the sun, we’ve no less days to sing God’s praise than when we first begun.” (John Newton)

Hope is a powerful energy that allows us to breathe with confidence and resilience. To celebrate hope we must first experience despair and desolation. Peace of Mind is a most important gift that we must never take for  granted. The following prayer is full of spiritual and life giving hope.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the people I  cannot change, which is pretty much everyone, since I’m clearly not you, God.

At least not the last time I checked.

And while you’re at it, God, please give me the courage to change what I need to change about myself, which is frankly a lot, since, once again, I’m not you, which means I’m not perfect.

It’s better for me to focus on changing myself than to worry about changing other people, who, as you’ll no doubt remember me saying, I can’t change anyway.

Finally, give me the wisdom to just shut up whenever I think that I’m clearly smarter than everyone else in the room, that no one knows what they’re talking about except me, or that I alone have all the answers.

Basically, God, grant me the wisdom to remember that I’m not you.


The post Amazing Grace appeared first on Portlaoise Parish.