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Friday, 5 April 2013

Amazing Grace.

Yesterday, I had to go into Glasgow to attend a luncheon meeting connected with Scotland for Marriage.  Due to an unforeseen set of circumstances, I was unusually early, so decided to go for a wee wander along Sauchiehall Street.  I looked into the Savoy Centre - one of the earlier shopping malls in the city - and, as I browsed among the various units, I saw a selection of dish-towels displayed on a wall.

A number of said dish-towels had, printed on them, what were proclaimed to be "Songs of Scotland".  They had the words of some of the well-known songs - "The bonnie banks of Loch Lomond"; "Auld lang syne"; "My love is like a red, red, rose".  There were some that, I suspect, are not quite as well-known - "Westering home"; "My love is but a lassie yet"; "Scots wha hae"; and "Will ye no come back again".

However, every dish-towel had one other song.  There, for all to see, were the words of "Amazing grace"!

Now, I don't know for certain why English John Newton's old hymn should be considered to be a "Song of Scotland" - other than the fact that the tune to which it is often sung is equally often played by pipe bands.  However, I hope that many who pass by, and who purchase (or receive as a gift) such dish-towels, will read those words.

Grace, the acrostic explains, is "God's Riches At Christ's Expense".  It's what many of us where thinking about just a week ago as we remembered the crucifixion of Jesus on Mount Calvary.  As another hymn-writer has put it: "He paid the price, that I might go free".  Mankind is sinful.  I am a sinner; you are a sinner.  There is absolutely nothing that either/any of us can do about it.  All that we deserve is the righteous judgement, and the wrath, of a sinless and holy God.  Only a perfect human being could escape that wrath.

But, thankfully, He is also the God Who is Love.  Not just the highest form of love, but love itself.  Love is His essence.  Without Him, love could not exist and, we may say with all reverence, without love, He could not exist!  And, in love, He did what only He could do.  He took on human flesh, and became a Man - the perfect God-Man.  And He paid the penalty that you and I deserve to pay. 

Graham Kendrick wrote the lovely song "Come and see".  The chorus goes like this: "We worship at Your feet, where wrath and mercy meet, and a guilty world is washed by love's pure stream.  For us, He was made sin - oh, help me take it in.  Deep wounds of love cry out, 'Father, forgive'.  I worship, I worship the Lamb Who was slain."

That's what's so amazing about grace!  And it's available to all who will admit their sinfulness, and come to Him in repentance and faith.  The door is open.  Won't you come in?

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