Grace Has Brought Me Safe Thus Far
This first weekend of 2014 affords many of us an opportunity to hit “pause” on this busy opening week and to reflect, backward and forward, on our own lives.
Essential at the beginning of every new year is to set aside time to reflect on life, according to eighteenth-century slave-ship-captain-turned-pastor John Newton (1725–1807). This practice was embedded into his personal disciplines, and it emerged as a hallmark of his pastoral work. He penned new hymns and sermons and personal letters every year to urge his friends to take time at the unveiling of a new year to stop and reflect on life.
Past, Present, Future Grace
Newton’s most famous hymn “Amazing Grace” is the best example of this reflection. The hymn was first unveiled in his church on New Year’s Day (1773), and it’s a reflection on the new year: a look back on his past deliverances, a look…