Posted by: Rolf | March 12, 2011

Amazing Grace

Amazing Grace” is a Christian hymn written by English poet and clergyman John Newton (1725–1807), published in 1779. With a message that forgiveness and redemption are possible regardless of the sins people commit and that the soul can be delivered from despair through the mercy of God, “Amazing Grace” is one of the most recognizable songs in the English-speaking world.

Newton wrote the words from personal experience. He grew up without any particular religious conviction but his life’s path was formed by a variety of twists and coincidences that were often put into motion by his recalcitrant insubordination. He was pressed into the Royal Navy and became a sailor, eventually participating in the slave trade. One night a terrible storm battered his vessel so severely that he became frightened enough to call out to God for mercy, a moment that marked the beginning of his spiritual conversion. His career in slave trading lasted a few years more until he quit going to sea altogether and began studying theology.

“IL Divo” performed “Amazing Grace” in one of the oldest Roman amphitheaters in Pula, Croatia. This  coliseum (smaller but better preserved than the one in Rome ) where the concert and recording were done is one of the most  well-preserved Roman coliseums in the world.

The four male  singers in the group called “IL Divo” are from four different  countries: American tenor David Miller; Swiss tenor Urs Bühler; Spanish baritone Carlos Marin; and French pop singer Sebastien Izambard.  Moreover,  they come from four different musical  disciplines but have  discovered a new unity of purpose. “IL  Divo” in Italian literally means a male (singular) “prima donna.”

This group was  initially brought together in 2004 by the infamous Simon Cowell after  intensive worldwide auditions. The virtuoso blending of operatic techniques with both romantic and popular  tradition has taken the world by storm. They have  sold over 22 million albums, the first three of which were “IL Divo”“Ancora”, (Again) and “Sempre” (Always).

Lastly,  the group decided to work with only one producer, a longtime collaborator named Steve McCutcheon (aka Steve Mac). A musical  genius, Mac is able to create beautiful orchestrations by  experience. I love that it was done respectfully as it should be and by respectfully dressed and groomed young men! The bag pipes are awesome and the setting is unbeatable!

Unfortunately there is only one annoying problem I have with it. If you truly are a believer in this Amazing Grace of God, you would NEVER sing the last verse “When we’ve been HERE ten thousand years…”. The wording of the original song is: “When we’ve been THERE 10,000 years…” (speaking of being in Heaven with God). This is the best verse and, in my mind, quite tainted by the mistaken word since it changes the entire meaning of the verse!

To be here 80 or so years is PLENTY! I’m really not up for 10,000 years in this sin-cursed world! I’m going to be in Heaven for 10,000, 10,000,000 and more years thanks to God’s Amazing Grace–and truly then my praising of the Great God of the Universe will have only just begun!!

Click on “Amazing Grace” by Il Divo to hear it as you have never heard it sung before!  Enjoy!

In His Grip and Serving Grace…

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