Summary: This messages focuses on the song "God's Amazing Grace" by Ms. Roberta Martin.
Songs of Our Faith Part 2
God’s Amazing Grace
This is part 2 of our series, “The Songs of Our Faith.” This morning I will share with you the song “God’s Amazing Grace.” This song tells the story of a godly mother who sings “Amazing Grace” to her child and it is written from the child’s point of view. I have not heard this song sung in a Church in many years and there could be a reason why. In order for this song to move you, you had to have had a relationship with a godly mother. If you did not have a godly mother, or a woman who stood in for your mother, this song might not have the same impact on you as it had on me. Songs affect individuals in different ways and what might speak to me may not speak to you. This morning I want to expose you to a song that cause me to think about and appreciate my mother and the other strong godly ladies that directly impacted my life as I was growing up in Tennessee. I want you to listen now to a rendition of this song by Rev. Brandon McCray. This song will cover the first verse but it will give you a frame of reference for what I will share with you shortly.
I. The Author
This song was written by Ms. Roberta Martin. She wrote this song, “God’s Amazing Grace”, in 1938. This song is about a godly mother singing “Amazing Grace” to her child. Ms. Martin was born in 1907 and died in 1969. She was an American gospel composer, singer, pianist, arranger and choral organizer who helped launch the careers of many other gospel artists through her group, “The Roberta Martin Singers.” Although a high school teacher inspired her to dream of becoming a concert pianist, her future course was changed after accompanying the Young People’s Choir at Ebenezer Baptist Church. While there she came into contact with the author of the song “Precious Lord”, Mr. Thomas A. Dorsey, known as the Father of Gospel Music. With his help she organized her first gospel group. In her lifetime she composed about seventy songs, arranged and published 280 gospel songs, and reached and inspired thousands of listeners selling sheet music.
II. Why This Song Was Chosen
Before I go into the lyrics of this song, let me first tell you how I came to know it and why it has stuck with me for over 40 years. Every Church has an elder person in leadership who stands out to a young person. I was fortunate to have had several. These individuals were not perfect, but as I watched them, I always found something that I could latch on to that has benefitted me as an adult. One of these individuals was Deacon Isaiah Marshall. Deacon Marshall was a man who loved God. In all of the years I knew him I never witnessed him raising his voice as he always spoke with a voice that was soft and kind. He was one of the deacons at my Church who modeled the way for others. When I became a junior deacon as a teenager, he was one of the deacons that I watched because he truly appeared to care about the Church and the members. He could be counted on to do whatever needed to be done without complaining. I remember several occasions when we did not have a way to church that he came to our home and got my siblings and me. If there was something going on at the Church he was there in the midst of it because he knew as a deacon this was part of his service. Deacon Marshall could also sing and was one of the lead singers and soloists in our senior choir (what we called the “old people’s choir”.) It was in this role that I first heard him sing this song.
As a teenager I attended more funerals than I can remember. I attended several funerals where Deacon Marshall was called upon by the family to sing. The most requested song that I heard him sing at funerals was “God’s Amazing Grace.” I remember attending a funeral with my mother and Deacon Marshall was on the program to sing this song. I remember the tears in my mother’s eyes as he sung the song and this made me listen more closely to the words. For years I thought he was singing about his own mother as a lead in to the song “Amazing Grace.” I was a grown man before I learned that this was not something that he had made up but was an actual song. I am glad that I did not know this when he was singing many years ago because every time I heard him singing it I just knew he was singing about his personal experience with his mother. When he sung that song you felt it even if you did not know the words. So this morning, we will examine the song “God’s Amazing Grace” as it was originally written by the author. We will not go into the lyrics to “Amazing Grace” as this will be the last song covered in this series. Deacon Marshall died many years ago and I attended his funeral. As they went through the program I had vivid memories of this man singing this song for others. I could still hear his voice today when I think about this song. I found peace in believing that he was now in the presence of his Lord and Savior.