Sarah Klingler, our Director of Communications and Education, is today’s guest blogger.
The power of music is incredible. Listening to even a few bars or chords of a familiar song can bring long-forgotten memories rushing back to life. Perhaps you’re reminded of a first kiss or are taken back to a special carefree summer with friends. Maybe you’re plunged into the throes of sorrow of an unrequited love. Some songs are part of the rhythm of our lives, such as the very familiar “Happy Birthday to You” or “Auld Lang Syne.” For those of us who grew up in the church, gospel hymns or praise and worship songs seem to be in our DNA. Even the psalmists didn’t hesitate to worship or lament with song.
A song of ascents.
1 Praise the Lord, all you servants of the Lord
who minister by night in the house of the Lord.
2 Lift up your hands in the sanctuary
and praise the Lord.
3 May the Lord bless you from Zion,
he who is the Maker of heaven and earth.
Speaking of beautiful moments we remember because of music, I remember vividly the date September 8, 2008. That was the day we celebrated the life of my lovely Grandma, Anna Zusky. She was a feisty, giving, caring woman who endured much hardship over her eight plus decades, but who had the joy of finding a saving faith in Jesus during the last years of her life. I had the honor and privilege of sharing memories and thoughts about my Grandma during her home-going service. Interestingly enough, though, what I remember most isn’t the heart-felt message but rather the song we sang, Chris Tomlin’s “Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone).”
Every time I hear this on the radio or in church, inevitably I get choked up and have a hard time holding back my tears. All at once I’m swept away by a tidal wave of emotions- love and joy and peace and sorrow and dread and hope… all rolled into one. It’s powerful for me, and I would imagine this particular song, whether a newer version or the hymn of old, holds significant meaning for others as well.
“Amazing Grace” doesn’t just carry personal meaning for listeners and singers. There is also the dramatic backstory of its author, the “rest of the story.” John Newton’s life was complex, with periods of reckless drinking during his youth, slave-trading, seafaring, and conversion to Christianity following a storm at sea. He was ordained as an Anglican priest in 1764 and wrote 280 hymns following his ordination. In 1772 he penned the words to “Amazing Grace,” perhaps the most well-known of all hymns, and one which has appeared in countless movies and books and is estimated to be performed 10 million times annually.
The Greater Akron Area is in for a treat when the Broadway musical Amazing Grace comes to the Civic Theater on Wednesday, March 21, at 7:30 p.m. We would love to see individuals and congregations from all over our community come together for this special evening. Why is Love Akron helping to promote this and why should you consider coming to this mid-week production?
First, in this day of national racial tension and cultural controversy over immigration, we can use this musical to cast a positive light on a story that tells of the change in the heart of a slave trader who becomes a messenger of love and grace.
Second, in light of the deep division in the faith community over doctrinal and cultural issues, we can use this musical as an opportunity to unite around something we all desire, which is liberty and justice for all.
Third, in view of the Lenten season, we can use this captivating story as an opportunity for our churches to introduce the message of the Gospel of God’s amazing grace to seekers who are friends and family members.
The Civic is even offering special incentives for our friends to be able to attend. Here are the details:
- Individual tickets are 20% off with the code AMAZING
- Groups of 10 or more can get tickets at 30% off with the code GROUP
- Please note that the discount applies to the $49 and $39 reserved tickets
Tickets are available by logging onto www.TicketMaster.com, in person at the Civic box office- located in the entrance, or by calling (330)253-2488 Monday through Friday between 10 am and 4 pm. If you have any questions, please contact Joe Morales at 330-535-3179 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’m so grateful that God gave us the gift of music. Whether you sing off-key or with a beautiful, trilling soprano, lift up a song of praise today. Amazing grace has been bestowed upon us by our Savior, and that indeed is reason to sing.