We have been studying the lives of the composers of hymns this month in order to gain a new appreciation both for their lives and for the music they left with humanity as a legacy. Isaac Watts was our first hymn composer, dating back to the first of the 18th century. Then, Charles Wesley was next, about fifty years after Watts. Next Sunday, we will jump a century ahead to sing and talk about the hymns written by Fanny Crosby. She was a remarkable woman, writing around 5000 hymns but doing so while being totally blind.
Fanny Crosby composed the words to many hymns that have become favorites to Christians over the years. "Blessed Assurance," "Pass Me Not, O Gentle Savior," "I Am Thine, O Lord," and many others have been sung for well over a hundred years now by Christians in many denominations.
Crosby was celebrated in her own day for her gospel hymns, but she was also very publicly involved with New York City's rescue mission and other benevolent efforts. She rubbed shoulders with Grover Cleveland, Dwight Moody, Jenny Lind, and P.T. Barnum. She was praised as a gifted Protestant woman, beloved and treasured by those who knew her.
Her hymns reflect the mood of the era in which she lived and her concern for social issues which plagued industrial America. We will think about her life and the legacy she provided through the music she shared during worship the next Sunday.