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'Amazing Grace' – the movie

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As the title suggests, the movie is amazing – reaching to the core of humanity's soul, gripping the issue of human slavery and inhumane treatment of human beings and not letting go of the moral imperative of abolition until the victory is won.

The movie's message to abolish the root of slavery was poignantly brought home by the simple and tastefully crafted scene of a free African Londoner who opened his shirt, showing a branded chest while pointedly but peacefully declaring that they do this to make you know that you no longer belong to God, but to a man.

Many important issues and discoveries await the viewer of this story based on the life of antislavery pioneer William Wilberforce and the theme of John Newton's beloved hymn. The "Amazing Grace" of mercy and pardon awaits everyone who is contrite. This is a promise for all who are awakened to do what is right.

But it was the secondary theme of freedom from the oppression of illness that struck a familiar chord for me.

For years I've been intrigued by the perspective Christian Science offers on how to find freedom from the bonds of disease through prayer.

Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science, wrote, "The emancipation of our bodies from sickness will follow the mind's freedom from sin.... The rights of man were vindicated but in a single instance when African slavery was abolished ... yet that hour was a prophecy of the full liberty of the sons of God ... the feeblest mind, enlightened and spiritualized, can free its body from disease as well as sin; and this victory is achieved, not with bayonet and blood, not by inhuman warfare, but in divine peace" ("The People's Idea of God," pp. 10-11).

Gaining a glimpse of divine grace is helpful beyond words. It brings calm, hope, and healing that endure. It may come as an intuition, a feeling of holiness, an encouraging word or a deep and powerful stillness amid chaos.

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