Touch, Worship

This is Amazing Grace

This is Amazing Grace

The “Memories” feature of Facebook allows users to revisit posts from yesteryear. Some treasured memories get retriggered, allowing us to relive the associated significant moments.

This is somewhat like the liturgical calendar, which revisits significant moments in salvation history. In the season of Easter, Jesus’ sacrifice—His death and resurrection—comes into focus. However, like our memory that gets hazy after a while, the longer our Christian walk, the more we may take for granted of the some finer details of what it meant for Jesus to be the sacrificial lamb of God.

This is where songs can help fill in those details to foster long-term “liturgical memory”. If we were to ask the questions “What did Jesus do on the cross? Why is His sacrifice important?” we can find some answers in Phil Wickham’s “This Is Amazing Grace”.

What is particularly refreshing for a modern praise & worship song is that Wickham and his co-writers balance soteriological anthropocentricity (the narrative of God saving us by the blood of Christ) by magnifying God’s power and majesty throughout creation history. In the verses, the God in Genesis who created the stars, spoke the world into existence and brought order out of chaos is the same God who sought to make sons and daughters of the Kingdom through the incarnation of His son. The chorus then rallies us together to marvel in praise and wonder, “This is amazing grace!”

The bridge then invites us to sing the song of the angels in Revelation 5:11–12 (NIV), “Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. In a loud voice they were saying: ‘Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!’” What an amazing future to behold!

In this one song, we have so much material to foster our long-term liturgical memory. We remember what our wonderful God has done in all phases of history: the past, present and future. May continue dwelling with deep introspection from our time in Lent to sing with wonder, as Wickham puts it, “Jesus, I sing for all that You’ve done for me.”

This is Amazing Grace

Who breaks the power of sin and darkness

Whose love is mighty and so much stronger

The King of Glory the King above all kings

Who shakes the whole earth with holy thunder

And leaves us breathless in awe and wonder

The King of Glory the King above all kings

This is amazing grace

This is unfailing love

That You would take my place

That You would bear my cross

You laid down Your life

That I would be set free

Oh Jesus I sing for all that You’ve done for me

Who brings our chaos back into order

Who makes the orphan a son and daughter

The King of Glory the King of Glory

Who rules the nations with truth and justice

Shines like the sun in all of its brilliance

The King of Glory the King above all kings

Worthy is the Lamb who was slain

Worthy is the King who conquered the grave

Music and lyrics: Phil Wickham, 2012

© 2012 Phil Wickham Music, Seems Like Music, Sing My Songs, WC Music Corp., Bethel Music Publishing

Justin Chan is a Programme Executive at Methodist School of Music, Worship and Music department. As a reformed rock musician, he believes hymns and heavy metal can co-exist for the glory of God.