Fifteen years ago, Amy Grant released her second album of church standards titled, Rock of Ages… Hymns and Faith.
The notable singer-songwriter has mustered up quite an admirable career, finding her home in Christian music and preaching positivity, unity, and love throughout her musical masterpieces. Grant’s music has continued to resonate with fans and inspire courage and strength to listeners.
One of the most special songs in this album is her rendition of the famous Christian hymn, “Rock of Ages,” which she sang together with her husband, Vince Gill. The talented couple gave the old hymn an update. It turned out into a rare contemporary Christian song that functions as terrific religious material and transcends its genre based on its richness. The song is a modest little gem in country music.
Interestingly, the couple’s love story started from a duet. Amy Grant and Vince Gill knew they had something special when they first stepped into the studio together to sing “House of Love” in 1993. However, they were both married to different people during that time. Neither pursued each other until their marriages were over many years later.
“I think that a part of me loved him instantly,” Grant said. “I felt like I knew him instantly. I was so moved by him as a human being that I went up behind him and just hugged him as hard as I could while he was singing. I just said, ‘I just needed to hug you all night.'” The couple has now been married for twenty years.
The Popular Christian Hymn Written By A Reverend
“Rock of Ages” is a famous Christian hymn written by Reverend Augustus Toplady as early as 1763 with music by Thomas Hastings. It was first published in The Gospel Magazine in 1775.
Legend says that Toplady wrote the hymn during one stormy season in England. While he was traveling along the gorge in Burrington Combe, Toplady was caught in a fierce storm. He took shelter in a gap in the gorge, where he wrote the hymn’s original lyrics.
Though some were doubtful whether the event actually occurred, the rock is now marked with a plaque that says: “Rock of Ages: This rock derives its name from the well-known hymn written about 1762 by the Rev A M Toplady who was inspired whilst sheltering in this cleft during a storm.”
“Rock of ages, cleft for me. Let me hide myself in Thee. Rock of ages, cleft for me. Let me hide myself in Thee. Let the water and the blood from thy riven side which flowed, be of sin the double cure cleanse me from its guilt and power,” the song begins.
If you’ve probably noticed, this very personal hymn uses pronouns such as “I” and “me” rather than “we” and “our,” focusing on individual salvation.
There also has been speculation that the lines, “Be of sin the double cure, Save from wrath, and make me pure,” suggest that Toplady agreed with the teachings of the Methodist preacher John Wesley though Toplady was a Calvinist.
Wesley was not only his contemporary, but he’s also whom Toplady received his religious conversion. Wesley taught the “double cure,” in which a sinner is saved by the atonement of Jesus and cleansed from inbred sin by the Holy Spirit’s infilling. However, Toplady’s published hymnal in 1776 contained a variant that reads: “Be of sin the double cure, Save me from its guilt and power.”
Listen to the breathtaking “Rock of Ages” performance by the power couple Amy Grant and Vince Gill in the video below.