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What Is The Grace That Stormzy’s Rapping About?

Author: John McKenna

Picture: NRK P3

What Is The Grace That Stormzy’s Rapping About?

South London MC’s chart topping debut album “Gang Signs and Prayer” features two songs dedicated to God’s grace.

Grime artist Stormzy – real name Michael Omari - is one of the hottest talents in British music right now.

His debut album entered the charts at number one, and his rapping on Ed Sheeran’s “The Shape of You” was one of the highlights of the 2017 Brit Awards.

And while much of his music reflects the tough street bravado typical of grime and hip-hop – his breakthrough hit was titled “Shut Up” – his album Gang Signs and Prayer also reveals a softer more vulnerable side: there are tracks about his battle with depression, his difficult relationship with estranged father, and one song that begins with his mother praying over him.

However, the subject that he dedicates two songs on the album to is God’s grace.

Where the first track, Blinded By Your Grace part 1,  is a chilled Gospel-flavoured interlude, the second, Blinded By Your Grace Part 2, is an all-out power ballad complete with Gospel choir and electric guitars. Here is the video:

What is this grace? 

In the chorus to Blinded by Your Grace Part 2, Stormzy sings:

Lord I’ve been broken

Although I’m not worthy

You fixed me, I’m blinded

By your grace

You came and saved me

What is Stormzy saying when he says he has been saved by grace?

One of my favourite explanations of grace comes from Fr Raniero Cantalamessa, the papal preacher, who simply says: “Christianity does not begin with what people should do to be saved, but with what God has done to save them.”

It was a revelation to me when, as an adult, I realised that I did not have to earn God’s approval or love – he had already freely given it to me through his Son, Jesus Christ.

After his brushes with drug dealing, gang violence and depression, Stormzy seems to have come to a similar realisation – that our God is a God who lavishes love on us no matter who we are, where we have come from, or what we have done:

You saved this kid and I’m not your first

It’s not about blood and it’s not about birth

But oh my god what a God I serve

Perfect Love

Grace can be a difficult concept to understand.

Of course God wants us to be better people; to love our neighbours and our enemies, feed the poor and visit the sick. But God’s love is unconditional, so he loves us even before we do any of those good deeds – he loves us even while we are doing the exact opposite.

Jesus taught us to call God Our Father, and it was not until I became a father myself that I really understood what it meant to love unconditionally.

As Jesus says in Matthew’s Gospel: If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him– Matthew 7:11

Grace is the perfect unconditional love of a perfect Father. No wonder Stormzy’s blinded by it!

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