Amazing Grace: History of the song by Wintley Phipps

I never cease to be moved in my spirit by this story of slave ship captain, John Newton, who after his conversion to Christ was so deeply grateful to God for saving him that he wrote a text about it that was sung to the tune he no doubt learned from the slaves.

You can find a succinct story about Newton here.

While it’s on my mind, another song that has really pierced my heart this week is John Cowan’s “When It’s All Been Said and Done”. The line that breaks me is verse 3:

Lord your mercy is so great,
That you look beyond our weakness;
And find purest gold in miry clay,
Making sinners into saints.

Here’s the whole song –

When it’s all been said and done
There is just one thing that matters
Did I do my best to live for truth
Did I live my life for You

When it’s all been said and done
All my treasures will mean nothing
Only what I’ve done for love’s Reward
Will stand the test of time

Lord Your mercy is so great
That You look beyond our weakness
And find purest gold in miry clay
Making sinners into saints

I will always sing Your praise
Here on earth and ever after
For You’ve shown me Heaven’s my true home
When it’s all been said and done
You’re my life when life is gone

(You can hear a clip of the song here.)

This is ringing especially true for me right now, since one of my best friend’s house was practically consumed in a fire the night of Halloween. This song is the summary of his heart.


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