Such Amazing Grace

  • Cast Number: 9
  • Run-time: 60 minutes
  • Bible Reference: Acts 20:24

Theme:            This drama uses a funeral as the backdrop for an examination of what was behind John Newton’s writing of the old hymn, Amazing Grace.
Newton was a rebellious and difficult child who grew up into a ship’s captain hauling human cargo from Africa, to be sold as slaves in the new world.
In a particularly aggressive storm on the ocean Newton’s ship seemed about to break up. Newton called out to God and the storm subsided. Yet even this experience wasn’t enough to convince Newton to make a life change. But the grace of God was such that eventually Newton gave over his life to God.
A cross section of music is suggested, the church or group may select from suggestions we have made or use their own preferred songs. NOTE we have intentionally suggested mostly older hymns.


Bible Reference:          Acts 20:24


Cast:                9 (other than Newton, could be m or f)
Newton, likely middle age or older


Set:                  chairs or benches in rows from stage right, somewhat diagonally so audience can see the actors
A pulpit at stage left


Sound:             Suggested songs on page 14, (use of a total of 7 songs is suggested in this drama)


Costumes:       Newton in 1700’s costume, others in contemporary “funeral attending” attire


Props:              a very large book


Special Instructions:   


Time:              60+ minutes (with songs)


Sample of script:


cast, (except Newton) onstage, sitting in rows as “Amazing Grace” is played, cast all sing

Jackie is alone in the front row, others spread in rows behind

Tony, Alex, Don & Blair sing half-heartedly, look bored

Cassidy, Kennedy, Danny & Jackie sing enthusiastically


Song:               Amazing Grace (all verses suggested)


Amazing grace how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now I'm found.
Was blind but now I see.


Through many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come,
'Tis grace has 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.


'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear
And grace my fears relieved.
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed.

When we've been there ten thousand years
Bright shining as the sun
We've no less days to sing God's praise
Then when we first begun.


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.

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now I'm found.
Was blind, but now I see


actors stand, facing audience, speak to each other

all greet Jackie, some shake Jackie’s hand, others embrace Jackie


Cassidy:          What a wonderful service, a real celebration of life for your Mom Jackie!


Kennedy:         A classy memorial for a classy lady.


Danny:            I know you will miss her Jackie, but a lot of people, including me, we will miss her too. I can remember all the snacks she fed us at her house when we were doing young adults Bible study and stuff.


Kennedy:         I learned a lot from being around that lady. . .  She was what I call an approachable Christian.


Tony:               Yeh, I always liked her. And I’m not a big fan of funerals but this one was an OK one.


Alex:               Wasn’t that singing something?


Don:                Something is right Alex! . .  I thought it would never end!


Danny:            Well I don’t know about you but that song gives me goose bumps every time I hear it, watching how people are impacted by the words.


Blair:               Yeh but other than funerals, who listens to that kind of thing anyhow?


Alex:               Actually a lot of people Blair, all over the world. I read somewhere Amazing Grace is performed like ten million times every year. . .  Go figure!


Cassidy:          My grandfather is an all-together guy, but when he sings that song it usually brings tears to his eyes.


Tony:               None of the song makes any sense to me is all.


Don:                My Dad says it’s the poor mechanic’s song about his dog Mace.


Kennedy:         What has Amazing Grace got to do with a poor mechanic’s dog?


Don:                Apparently this mechanic lost his wrench in some tall grass, his dog Mace ate up all the grass and the mechanic found his wrench.
You know, like . . .
A-grazing Mace, how sweet the hound that saved a wrench for me. . .


Blair:               Don, that for sure has to be the sickest joke I ever did hear!


Don:                You got a better one Blair?


Blair:               I think I’ll pass.


Alex:               I don’t exactly know what everything in the song is all about, but seems it’s sung at every funeral and stuff like that.


Jackie:             As my Mom always said, Amazing Grace is all about God’s open offer of forgiveness, no matter what we have done.


Tony:               OK I have to be honest with you guys. . . More than anything what turns me off is the bit about . .  “saves a wretch like me.” . . . So what’s with calling yourself a . . . wretch?


Don:                Me too Alex! . . . Who was the guy that wrote this stuff? . . .  An axe murderer or something?


Blair:               With all the religious stuff in it, for sure it had to be written by a preacher!


Jackie:             No, actually John Newton, the writer, was a ship’s captain. He lived way back three hundred years ago.


Alex:               Never heard of him.


Don:                Likely three hundred years from now nobody’s gonna remember you either Alex.


Tony:               Another thing . . . What's with “been there ten thousand years . . . We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise than when we first begun?”


Blair:               I figure that means . . .  when we’ve been dead ten thousand years.


Tony:               Look I figured that out myself . .  but what’s with no less days?


Cassidy:          That means that when after we die we will spend eternity, forever and ever, with Jesus in heaven.


Alex:               I’m not sure about that eternity thought. . .  I mean how can we be sure there is anything after we die?


Danny:            God promised that in the Bible. . . And Jesus confirmed it when he was on earth.


Alex:               OK that’s what we are told. . .  But what if all that is just a story, what if we believe all that and it turns out the Bible is wrong?


Kennedy:         Alex . . . What if we don’t believe it and the Bible is right? I have seen lots of proof that the Bible is truth. . . . Have you seen anything to prove the Bible is wrong?


Don:                Actually I’d like to know more about John Newton, who he was and what all he did.


Jackie:             John Newton was a rebellious child who continued that attitude into his youth.
(lights start to dim as Jackie speaks)
But his rebellious life took a turn in a very dramatic way. And the effects of that change are still felt today. . .  That’s why my Mom was so impressed with his story!


Song:               Coming Home


lights down on cast, up on Newton who is standing behind podium on which is a very large book


Newton:          For God so loved the world that he . . .
That he . . . truly . .  saved a wretch like me.
I am John Newton.
No man has ever been more undeserving of God’s love than I.
And let there be no doubt, throughout my life I did nothing to deserve God’s forgiveness.
I had head knowledge about God, but that never transformed to knowing God on a personal basis.
From time to time in my life, when in trouble and at the end of my rope, I would turn to God, almost a last resort.
But then shortly after the problem was behind me I turned my back on God . . . and went back to my old ways.
Yet his love for me held steadfast.
Why God did this for a person without any redeeming qualities boggles the mind.
But then, did the shepherd God not leave the 99 sheep to go in search of the one?
I am the one.
The undeserving one.
It was only his grace that saved me.
His . . . amazing . . . grace.
And this, (taps hand on book), is my story.


lights down on Newton, up on actors


Cassidy:          Newton’s is an amazing story.

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