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Most of us have heard the wonderful old hymn “Amazing Grace”. It may well be one of the most beloved Hymns in both America and Scotland where the Pipers trill it at almost any occasion. How many of us know the story behind this great hymn?
Captain John Newton was the Master of a slave ship for over 30 years; a very nasty but very profitable vocation in the 17th and 18th Centuries. By the year 1768 he began to have serious qualms about his chosen profession. On each trip nearly half of his cargo died of disease, starvation and abuse. He could not close his eyes in sleep without hearing the pleas and cries of the poor unfortunates below decks.
At first he told himself that Africans weren’t like “us”, they were a lower form of humanity and really did not have souls in any event. This was the usual apology for the transporting and keeping of slaves. But by the time the first rumblings of revolution and unrest began in the American Colonies in the 1770’s Captain Newton decided that he had had enough.
Fearing that his immortal soul was stained so badly that there was no hope of redemption, he left the sea and never returned. He was sure that by his actions he was condemned to the fires of Hell for all eternity. Thus the lyrics: “Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me, I once was lost but now I’m found”; was blind but now I see.
What turned John Newton, the slaver who believed himself such a wretch that his soul was irredeemable into the man who wrote the poem and hymn that led to the abolition of the slave trade in the British Empire? Yes, it was Amazing Grace! Here is the rest of the story!
John Newton went on to become a leading voice in England for the abolition of the slave trade in all of the British Empire. It took 30 years and the help of Jacob Wilberforce, a prominent MP, but he never gave up. In 1799 Britain abolished the slave trade in all of the Empire. No new slaves could be imported anywhere the Union Jack flew. Newton’s work inspired the framers of our Constitution to include a ban on the importation of slaves into the United States from 1807 forward.
What is this thing thing called Grace? Grace is the process of having our soul washed clean; its rather like a spiritual dry cleaners. We are in a state of Grace the moment we step out of our Ego Self and enter the state of the Higher Self that knows that it knows the Truth. Grace is always ours for the asking and the taking but we must be willing to look in the mirror and say “yes” to becoming a new person in body, mind and spirit. We must “repent” which simply means rethink our lives, our beliefs and attitudes, our words and our actions
The state of grace and the divine gift of imagination are perhaps the two greatest gifts of our Creator. Alone among all creatures on this planet we can become new again through accepting the gift of Grace no matter our transgressions.
With the gift of imagination we can create a new world by seeing things that never were and traveling to places in our minds that have never been. Alone among all creatures on this planet, we are not bound by our past, our genetic makeup or the precedent set by our former words, choices or actions. We can make ourselves new by Grace and the World new by our collective imagination.
We are all creatures standing on the threshold of newness at any moment of our lives. If we are downtrodden, guilt ridden, stained with sorrow and bitterness it is not the will of God but rather our unwillingness to have a new thought and become One with the very substance of God all around us. Perhaps the hardest thing a human being must do is to change from the inside out. It is also the key to receiving Grace.
Here is how to do it: simply say: no more, the darkness is over; I am brand new. Now I know the truth of my being is that I am God expressing as me. I declare myself washed and renewed in mind, body and spirit. I am healing the toxic separation of my mind and spirit from God and I am now consciously One with the Infinite for all the days of my life. I will walk in Love and Light all the days of my life! Thank you God! And so It Is!
The fundamentalists call this being “born again” and in a sense that is an apt description. Paul said: be you transformed by the renewal of your mind…the basic idea of Religious Science.
Only you can accept this same gift of Grace that washed clean the stained soul of Captain John Newton the slave trader; it can wash any of us clean if we will make a decision to have a new thought, speak a new word and believe that we are renewed.
Open your mind, heart and soul to the gift of Grace right now!
Rev. Dore’ Jacques Patlian, Sarasota, Florida YouTube.com/revdore visit my 120 video podcasts today!