Hymn: “How Sweet the Name of Jesus Sounds” – John Newton (1725-1807)
Typical Tunes: ORTONVILLE, ST. PETER
Did anybody recognize this hymnline when it first came up? It is from a hymn you have probably sung at some time – one by the same man who wrote “Amazing Grace.” I guess like all hymn authors, some of them stick, and others don’t!
But what a wonderful picture Newton sketches for us: a "never-failing treasure filled with boundless stores of grace.” You picture it in your mind, don’t you? That treasure chest (like the kind Jack Sparrow placed one foot upon in PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN) simply overflowing with more doubloons and jewels than it can hold. But the riches here are not so tangible. Newton goes back to that amazingness of grace and stacks it high to overflowing from its never-failing, never-ending Source – that Jesus whose name sounds so sweet in a believer’s ear… soothing sorrows, healing wounds, driving away fear, giving wholeness to wounded spirits, calming the troubled soul.
This hymnline is surrounded by lots of Christ-descriptors: rock, shield, hiding place, manna, prophet, priest, King, Lord – my life, my way, my end. So full of imagery and solid theology. My goodness, they don’t write them like that anymore!
Ever try to picture grace? I could direct your attention to the cross of Calvary… or I could remind you of that overflowing treasure chest. Both are pretty good images to bring up when I forget how grace-ful my Christ is.