P.O. Box 206 302 South Main Street Gainesboro, Tennessee 38562 (931) 268-4771 Office
Gainesboro First UMC
Wednesday, September 19, 2018
"A Caring Community of Faith"

Pastor's Desk


Pastor Tim Dunavant, Josh, Staci, and Mikayla

 In all his years, I never remember seeing my dad singing a song out loud. He was always listening to country music on the radio and I know what songs he enjoyed because he pointed them out to me. But he was just not the kind a guy that sang. I spent many days watching him work in the hot summer sun. Other people on the job site would be singing. But not my dad. I do, however, remember hearing him whistle and hum. But there was only one song that he would whistle or hum, Amazing Grace. I asked him why that was one time and he replied “because it’s the most important song.”
 My dad passed away in the summer of 2012. And that song will forever remind me of him. Now, when we as a congregation sing Amazing Grace, I would like to tell you that I sing it as a song of praise to my God. But if I’m not careful I sing it as a song of remembrance to my dad. I am not focused on God, I am watching the movie play in my head as I remember driving down a country road with the windows down and my dad sweetly humming Amazing Grace. That’s a great memory, but poor timing.
Amazing Grace was written by John Newton, a former slave boat captain, in 1779. The tune we are familiar with was not attached to it until 1900. When I am able to clear my head and truly focus on praising God through the use of this song it causes me to weep. This is kind of what I think of:
V1. I am overwhelmed with the reminder of just how lost and blind I am without Christ. I see myself without Jesus and I struggle to be able to fathom just how powerful and amazing God’s grace is that it could change me from that person I was into the person I am and continually into the person I will one day be.
V2. This verse reminds me that it was not an awareness of my sin that brought me to the fear of the Lord, it was his amazing love despite my sin that brought me to both fear and love God.
V3. Then I look back and I see just how much God has brought me through since I began this journey with him. I’m not confused at all, I know it has nothing to do with my efforts and everything to do with His grace that has brought me to this place today. And that is extremely comforting and reassuring because it means that it is His grace, and not my efforts that will continue me on this journey.
V4. All my worries, doubts, and fears melt away in the light of the great promises of God recorded in Scripture. He alone is all I need. I will probably have a lot of pain in this life before it is over, but Jesus is all I need to be able to face it all head on until I meet with death.
V6. I’ve sang this song 1000 times, but it never gets old. Praising God never gets old! Scripture tells me that when we find ourselves in that heavenly kingdom we will praise God for all eternity. And I can proclaim with a smile in my heart that it will never grow old lifting my voice with other Christians praising Jesus Christ!

I’m willing to bet that you have similar emotional attachments to this song as I have. Maybe you think about some of the funerals you have heard it sang at. Maybe you have fond memories of singing it with loved ones. And that’s OK. Those are great memories to have and I am thankful for mine. But if we are going to call it worship, then it is time to put the memories away. We can think about them later. It is time to remove everything from before us except for God Almighty and focus on his amazing grace.