William D. Brown.  Is there a God?  Who or what is He/She/It?  Why are we here?  Why do bad things happen to good people?  Why do good things

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End of the Innocence and Leader of the Band

Amazing grace and tears in heavenWilliam D. BrownAmazing Grace

Amazing Grace

Amazing GraceIs there a God?Who or what is He/She/It?Why are we here?Why do bad things happen to good people?Why do good things happen to bad people?Are human innately good or evil?

Amazing GraceWritten by John Newton in 1779Subjects: redemption and forgivenessConsidered his spiritual (auto-)biographyNewton refers to himself as a wretch, which he wasEven nasty people did not like himGot involved in the slave trade Repented and changed his ways, becoming an ordained minister in the Church of EnglandAmazing GraceAmazing Grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like meThe AWE he felt at sensing Gods presence (how some people describe GRACE)Yet this awe, which suggests something powerful and dramatic is controlled by the silence suggested by sweetnessWRETCH a powerful word! He uses this word to describe himself.Amazing GraceI once was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see.Spiritual and moral blindness could not see what he was doing to his fellow menHe now sees perhaps himself, perhaps others, perhaps a pathAmazing GraceTwas grace that taught my heart to fear, and grace my fear relieved. How precious did that grace appear the hour I first believed.Suggestion of the presence from the beginningGods presence was a gift, but HE HAD TO CHOOSE!The choice led to immediate results.Amazing GraceThrough many dangers, toils, and snares, we have already come. Twas grace that brought us safe thus far, and Grace will lead us home.Physical and spiritual referencesLife as a path many dangers, toils (difficulties), and snares (traps)God as protectorGod as a beacon or guideAmazing GraceThe Lord has promised good to me; His word my hope secures. He will my shield and portion be as long as life endures.A covenant between God and Him:God will protect and feed Him.He will follow.Amazing GraceWhen weve been here ten thousand years bright shining as the sun, weve no less days to sing Gods praise than when weve first begun.Concept of eternityEvery day is a new beginningAmazing GraceTone: PURE JOY coming out of gratitude and hope (but a hint of remorse and regret)The song is a celebration of his relationship with God but also a plea for forgiveness from God.Reminds the listener that:God is always present.We have to make a choice and later a commitment.All we have to do is askAmazing GraceSang this song in Chinese and English with my family (my wife, Yuchuan, and our daughter, Xuerui [her English name is Joy])Reminds me of the PsalmsConnects to Biblical Literature, especially the GospelsParable of the Prodigal SonHad an encounter like this oneTears in Heaven

Tears in HeavenFirst heard this song while driving on the 405 freeway.Eric Clapton wrote this song after his four-year-old son, Conors, death by accident in 1991.He has stopped singing this song because he claims that he no longer feels the grief but may bring it back later.

Tears in HeavenWould you know my name if I saw you in heaven? Would you be the same if I saw you in heaven?The song starts out with questions ones he cannot answer.Death brings with it questions that we cannot answerQuestions suggest uncertainty and insecurity and frustration

Tears in HeavenI must be strong and carry on cause I know I dont belong here in heaven.Talks to himself to strengthen his resolve to continueReminds himself that he cannot live in heaven because he still has a life to liveAt that time, Clapton struggled with drug addictionTears in HeavenWould you hold my hand if I saw you in heaven? Would you help me stand if I saw you in heaven?More questionshelp me stand shows his weakness and vulnerabilityPerhaps the line also shows his regret that he was not thereThe most unnatural thing in the world: for a parent to bury a childTears in HeavenIll find my way through night and day cause I know I just cant stay here in heaven.He needs to keep moving both when he can navigate his way and when he cannot both physically and spiritually.Tears in HeavenTime can bring you down; time can bend your knees. Time can break a heart, have you begging please, begging pleaseANGUISH!Imagery of the speaker on his knees pleadingWeaknessInability to continue

Tears in HeavenBeyond the door, theres peace Im sure cause I know therell be no more tears in heaven.What door?Perhaps deathPerhaps the end of his sufferingTitle line: this too shall pass HOPE In the meantime, he knows that he has to suffer

Tears in HeavenThe song is MOURNFUL AND REGRETFUL but also HOPEFUL.The speaker mourns the death of his son and regrets his absence, BUTHe longs for the day when he will see his son again in the afterlife.Tears in HeavenI have sung this song several times at funerals, most memorably at my Grandmothers funeral.I still sing this song (unlike Clapton). Maybe I have not overcome my grief yetI was convinced that Eric Clapton wrote this song just for meIt put into words how I had felt for fifteen years (1976 to 1991) but could not articulate:My feelings after my mother died.