Tonight at the end of Larry King Live, an Irish tenor sang a beautiful arrangement of Amazing Grace while pictures of the Pope flashed on the screen. Somehow it seems very fitting. As I write these words, Pope John Paul II, an honorable and decent man who did so much good for the world, nears the moment of death. He not only advanced the cause of his own church, he advanced the Christian cause around the world. As he slips from this life into the life that has no end, we can be grateful for such a man at such a time as this. He defended freedom, he helped bring an end to Communism, he spoke out on behalf of the unborn, he defended the sanctity of marriage, and he was a true peacemaker among the nations. Besides his strong stand for morality, I will remember how much he loved young people and how much they loved him. I have no doubt that he is the most beloved Pope in history. Those who of us who are evangelical Christians join with our Catholic friends in giving thanks to God for John Paul II. And we remember at the end of this long and emotional week that it is only by amazing grace that any of us are going to heaven. The Cyberhymnal version of the familiar hymn contains several verses that we don't normally sing but they seem appropriate for such a time as this.
Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found;
Was blind, but now I see.
’Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved;
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed.
Through many dangers, toils and snares,
I have already come;
’Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.
The Lord has promised good to me,
His Word my hope secures;
He will my Shield and Portion be,
As long as life endures.
Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess, within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.
The earth shall soon dissolve like snow,
The sun forbear to shine;
But God, Who called me here below,
Shall be forever mine.
When we’ve been there ten thousand years,
Bright shining as the sun,
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Than when we’d first begun.
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