When my children were young, one of the songs I enjoyed singing them to sleep with was
“Amazing Grace.” I sang it so often I began to worry that one day they might fall asleep in church
while singing this beautiful testimony of God’s ever-present grace.
Having spent years at sea prior to his conversion—first in the Royal Navy and then as crewman
and captain of slave ships—the hymn’s author, John Newton, understood firsthand the dangers,
toils and snares of life. Some he suffered at the mercy of unforgiving seas. Some he brought to
bear upon others as an active participant in and beneficiary of the slave trade.
Only later, sometime after his conversion, would Newton come to understand that it was grace
that had been moving in his life to bring him safely through. Only later, as a participant in the
movement to abolish slavery, would he come to understand this same grace would lead him
God’s grace is just as near to us and just as sufficient, although we, like Newton, may at first be
unaware of its presence. God’s grace is yet moving in our midst, reaching out to us, even though
our lives be entangled in the brokenness and injustice of the times in which we live.
This week The Christian Citizen is in Kansas City, Missouri, at Space for Grace, the biennial
conference of American Baptist Home Mission Societies. This summer we published articles by
two Space for Grace presenters, Kathy Khang and Amy Butler, and later today I’ll be interviewing
Amy Butler for a live edition of our podcast—Justice. Mercy. Faith.
Through Space for Grace 2022 and beyond, we’ll continue to listen for the sweet sound of
God’s amazing grace, looks for its manifestation in our lives and in the lives of those around us,
and make space for its healing presence and growth in the brokenness of our communities,
nation and world. We do so confident that grace, which has brought us safe thus far, will yet lead
Editor, Christian Citizen