Sometimes, grace comes from the most unexpected places.
This past Sunday, the pastor at our new church got up and sang “Amazing Grace.” But he sang it to the tune of the old Animals’ song “House of the Rising Sun.” In case you missed it, “Rising Sun” tells the song of a life ruined by either gambling or prostitution or some other pit of sin. An interesting choice for “Amazing Grace.”
When the pastor got up to sing, there were several in the church who knew what was coming and called out for him to “Sing it!” And when he opened his mouth, I understood why. It grabbed me clear in the heart. I turned to my husband and said, “God had to save him from a lot for Him to sing Amazing Grace like that.” It hit me in a whole new way, a new understanding of my sin and what God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit had to do to save me. It was anointed. It was… Jesus.
The very next day, a friend sent me a link to the pastor’s testimony and with it was his wife’s as well. I don’t cry easily, but I sat here listening with tears, and all I could say was “Jesus.” Because that’s what their testimonies were. Even now, it makes me tear up. There was nothing but Jesus to what they said. Nothing but Jesus could give deliverance like theirs from the lives they were living and then turn them around to do what they do. They are madly in love with the God who saved them. And it shows.
It got me thinking again about using the tune to a song about ruination to sing a song about salvation. I know there are people who don’t agree with putting the words to hymns with the tunes to secular songs, but I have to wonder… Isn’t that what it’s all about? God taking the unholy in us and making it holy? I know, in my life, He used the very worst thing I ever did to fuel one of the greatest gifts He ever gave me… for His glory. So why not use a song like “House of the Rising Sun” to sing about God’s grace? It’s the perfect image of what He does for sinners each and every day.
And it’s the absolute perfect image of that pastor’s life. Of all of our lives.