Monday, November 28, 2011

Amazing Grace

One of the problems with a certain stream of hymnody is that it ends with the believer`s death and him in heaven, and does not tell the rest of the story, namely, the resurrection of the dead. The beautiful and rightly much-loved hymn, Amazing Grace, is an example of this phenomenon. Below, I have deleted one stanza (see footnote) and added two (st. 5 & 6), to try complete the story.

                               Amazing Grace

1.            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.

2.            'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
               and grace my fears relieved;
               how precious did that grace appear
               the hour I first believed.

3.            Through many dangers, toils, and snares,
               I have already come;
               'tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,
               and grace will lead me home.

4.            The Lord has promised good to me,
               his word my hope secures;
               he will my shield and portion be,
               as long as life endures.

5.            And though this mortal, earthly, tent,
   because of ills and death,
   fall to the ground, all worn and rent,
   we will receive new breath.

6.            Christ will descend before our eyes
               to open every tomb.
               His voice will call the dead to rise,
               and he will bring us home.*

7.            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'd first begun.

* Stanzas 5 & 6 by George van Popta, 2011, replacing this stanza:

5.             Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
                and mortal life shall cease,
                I shall possess, within the veil,
                a life of joy and peace.