When preparing for a loved one’s traditional funeral, or even pre-planning your own ceremony, one of the tasks is to determine which songs or hymns to include as a way to weave the personality of the deceased into the service and create a memorable final service. “Amazing Grace” may be one of the most moving and beloved spiritual hymns of our time, and one that is heard at many funerals, but do you know the history behind the song?
It may be surprising, but an outspoken atheist and slave trader named John Newton penned the soaring melody and lyrics around 1772 after he found his faith while riding out a horrific storm at sea as he was running slaves from Africa to Charleston, South Carolina. Over the course of his lifetime, he was intensely prolific, writing more than 280 hymns in his life after he was ordained as an Anglican priest. His turnaround in faith inspired generations of people around the world to turn their eyes and heart in a different direction.
“Amazing Grace” Through the Years
Newton was not the only figure to use the concept of “Amazing Grace” as a vocal testament to his faith and strength. Leaders throughout history chose this hymn to share loss, love, and respect in times of great human need. The narrative of personal redemption that runs throughout the song tugs at the heart and soul, and fulfills a deep need for peace both in the individuals hearing it, and those who perform. President Jimmy Carter helped to make the song more mainstream by performing it with everyone from Senate Majority Leader Robert Byrd to Willie Nelson. Today, “Amazing Grace” is heard at many a traditional funeral alongside other hymns of comfort.
Music for the Ages
Working with our caring, compassionate and helpful staff at Mountain View Funeral Home means that you will have access to decades of knowledge about a traditional funeral and practices and you will always have someone ready and willing to answer your questions. Creating a memorial service that will be remembered by friends and family for years to come can feel like a heavy burden, especially if you are still grieving yourself. Our staff can help you release the burden and assist you in crafting exactly the type of service that you want for your loved ones or for yourself.