Monday, November 19, 2007

Amazing Grace

Movies are a big part of my life. I watch a lot of them. I'm inspired and uplifted by them.

Once in a rare while, a movie comes a long that makes a particularly special impact on me. Such is the case with Amazing Grace, which came out on DVD on Tuesday, November 13, 2007. I've impatiently waited for this release since the day I saw the film in the theatre. In the week before it's release I had even taken to watching the trailer on the internet over and over again.

Amazing Grace is the story of William Wilburforce, who essentially was responsible for ending the slave trade in Britain in the early 1800s. It is an inspiring and uplifting story that demonstrates the power of one person to change the world, through determination, perseverance and unwavering conviction.

Wilberforce was a great man of peace. He was haunted by injustice and cruelty. He felt God had given him two great tasks - "suppression of the slave trade" and "the reformation of society." He was friends with the man who wrote the great hymn, Amazing Grace. John Newton, who wrote the hymn, had been a slave ship captain for 20years, had a spiritual awakening, recognized the enormous error of his ways, and became a simple man of God. Newton had a powerful impact on Wilberforce.

In addition to ending the slave trade, he also started Britain's first "Society for the prevention of cruelty to animals."

He made many amazing contributions to the betterment of our world. This did not come without enormous personal suffering for Wilberforce. He was haunted by the horrible suffering and injustice that he saw in the world, and for what he perceived as his own failure at being able to stop them. His health suffered and he was ridiculed and lied about as a result of his stand on slavery. Wilberforce kept working, no matter what obstacles presented themselves. He got discouraged, frustrated and angry, but he never gave up on the way things could be. Never.

This is a must see movie that I hope encourages all who watch it to reflect on how they might make their unique contribution to the world. Not all of us will make the type of immense contributions that Wilberforce accomplished, but we can all do what is ours to do.

I'm giving away many copies of this movie. Wilberforce is one of my heroes. I can't wait to return to London some day and pay my respects to him in Westminster Abbey, where Wilberforce is buried. We owe him so much!

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