The preacher pridefully and
piously proclaimed that God
didn’t create wretches as he
insisted that the word in
Amazing Grace be changed.
His congregation agreed.
The choir led the congregation
in the watered-down version.
They all smiled self-satisfied
smiles. That sure sounds better
they pridefully proclaimed. But
John Newton, writer of the hymn
and former slave trader, wrote
“Amazing grace, how sweet the
sound that saved a wretch like me.”
It was wretched to enslave
humans and he was a wretch to
have been a part of it. It’s like guilt
and shame. Guilt is getting off easy.
Shame is how wretched you can
be to the marrow of your bones.
Newton became a great preacher
because only grace could change
his shame into salvation. The
minister who changed the word
and the congregation that went
along were, like Moses, in denial
and purveyors of cheap grace.
Was it grace that saved the soul?
John knew. It was grace that saved
the wretch and God saved John for
the rest and the best that John
could and would ever be.