Freedom for all is the hope of love and forgiveness. Stand and face this truth and your heart will find its voice.
28 November 1742
“It will always be a subject of humiliating reflection to me, that I was once an active instrument in a business at which my heart now shudders.”
John Newton, former slave trader
Amazing Grace was written by an Englishman who in the early part of his life was an outspoken atheist, libertine, and slave trader. John Newton was born in London in 1725, the son of a Puritan mother and a stern ship commander father who took him to sea when he was 11 (“I am persuaded that he loved me but he seemed not willing that I should know it,” he later wrote).
By 1745, Newton was enlisted in the slave trade, running captured slaves from Africa to, ironically, Charleston, S.C. After he rode out a storm at sea in 1748, he found his faith. He was ordained an Anglican priest in 1764 and became an important voice in the English abolitionist movement. At that time he wrote the autobiographical Amazing Grace, along with 280 other hymns.
Today Amazing Grace is beloved by Presidents and citizens alike and remains a go-to hymn at American funerals, because of its striking melodies and ever-popular narrative of personal redemption.
Susan Kerr – July 7, 2017
What tall ships prompted me to think about
A Christian Science perspective: The grace of tall ships holds lessons for navigating life’s storms.
…. But there’s more to these ships and such occasions than just the outer beauty and grace that we see. Beneath the surface and history of these objects and events are the qualities represented: precision, intelligence, harmony, strength. The ships’ voyages also point to teamwork, perseverance, faith, and peaceful collaboration.
Reflecting on these ideas as I watched some of the ships, I thought of how many Bible references to sailing, seas, waves, and wind there are. For instance, Christ Jesus is recorded as having stilled storms and as having walked on the water. And this verse in Psalms, referring to God, promises: “You rule the raging of the sea; when its waves rise, You still them” (89:9, New King James Version).
… Speaking of Christian Science, the system of healing she discovered, Monitor founder Mary Baker Eddy wrote: “Divine Science demands mighty wrestlings with mortal beliefs, as we sail into the eternal haven over the unfathomable sea of possibilities” (“Retrospection and Introspection,” pp. 56-57). Gaining this more spiritual sense of ourselves and the universe cuts through the fog of cynical, discouraged, frustrated, or fearful thinking. It enables us to experience more of genuine, spiritual life and sail on more skillfully.