The Sun Forebear to Shine

December 12, 2017 8:37 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

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.

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.


I’ve never thought of Amazing Grace as an Advent song, but then as I was reading this morning in 2 Peter, I came across this familiar passage:

But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.  The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.  Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness,  looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat?  Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.

2 Peter 3: 8 – 13

Umm… that’s kind of scary stuff, Peter. Not exactly the kind of thing I want to read to my kids at bedtime, but I sing it to them all the time. The original final verse to Amazing Grace is written thus:

The earth shall soon dissolve like snow,
The sun forbear to shine;
But God, who called me here below,
Will be forever mine.

Confession: I usually chuckle in my head a little everytime I sing those words because my brother (whom we still call “Bear”) used to think the lyrics were, “The sun for Bear to shine.” This rendition also makes sense, since if the sun ever needed a reason to shine, the mere existence of Bear would be a perfect justification.

Anyway, truth be told, I don’t usually get too caught up in the dissolution of the world and blotting out of the sun because 1. these lines do, arguably, poetically render some fuzzy theology, (but we can save that for another day) and 2.  I am focused on the final two lines, “But God, who called me here below, will be forever mine.” He is forever mine and I am forever His. What amazing grace. And Peter says that Christ is not slow in his return, he is not tardy, he did not get lost, or forget that he promised to come back. Rather, he is patient, “longsuffering toward us,” waiting to extend his amazing grace to all who will receive him.  So we are to be patient too, yet not without active anticipation, “looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God.” For when Christ returns, there will be a new heavens and a new earth, a place where “righteousness dwells.” 

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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This post was written by Nicki