President Obama

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President Obama‘s eulogy for Rev. Clementa Pinckney hit the nail on the proverbial theological head while describing grace.

President Obama spoke the famous lyrics:

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.

It was  the only way that the President could make all understand that South Carolina state Sen. Clementa Pinckney,one of nine victims in the shooting massacre carried out by Dylan Roof  at a Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston South Carolina answered his call in the line of grace. President Obama constantly referred to the hymn Amazing Grace and God’s grace during his speech. President Obama informed his audience that  the hymn is a teaching moment in all of our lifes if we would only reflect on it.

Amazing Grace was written by John Newton. He 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. According to his biography in March 1748, while the Greyhound was in the North Atlantic, a violent storm came upon the ship that was so rough it swept overboard a crew member who was standing where Newton had been moments before. Needless to say that after long hardship and suffering John came to believe that it was only God’s hand that saved his life.Newton’s sermon on that January day in 1773 focused on the necessity to express one’s gratefulness for God’s guidance, that God is involved in the daily lives of Christians though they may not be aware of it, and that patience for deliverance from the daily trials of life is warranted when the glories of eternity await. It was God’s grace that saved him and he intimately knew it placed a calling on his life.

President Obama spent a great deal of tine talking about  grace during his eulogy for Reverend Pickney. He wanted his listeners to truly grasp what grace was and is. Grace is the love of God shown to the unlovely; the peace of God given to the restless; the unmerited favor of God. Grace is the opposite of karma, which is all about getting what you deserve. Grace is getting what you don’t deserve, and not getting what you do deserve.

The New Testament, “grace” (156 times) takes on a special redemptive sense in which God makes available his favor on behalf of sinners, who actually do not deserve it.

Watch President Obama’s plea during the eulogy to us to answer the grace God has given us with action below.

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