From the Pastor’s Pen: Powerful Hymns

Stop me if you’ve heard this one.

Thou my everlasting portion,
more than friend or life to me,
all along my pilgrim journey,
Savior, let me walk with thee.


Perfect submission, all is at rest;
I in my Savior am happy and blest,
watching and waiting, looking above,
filled with his goodness, lost in his love.

How many of you are swaying to the 9/8 rhythm now?

Pass me not, O gentle Savior,
hear my humble cry;
while on others thou art calling,
do not pass me by.

I poke fun at quite a lot of theologians (and others) who fill the world by publishing their every thought, but I don’t think that’s why we know the hymns of Fanny Crosby so well. She was a writer of thousands of spiritual songs, but that’s not why hers have stuck around. They’ve stuck around because they’re good!

That is to say, they are meaningful and theologically sound and they sing well. Crosby’s hymnody comforts and challenges with clarity that keeps a hold on our hearts.

Rescue the perishing, duty demands it;
strength for thy labor the Lord will provide…

Some of us are more moved and nurtured by the hymns we sing than by any words I might proclaim from the pulpit.

Frankly, I’m totally okay with that. As long as something is inspiring you to go and be the hands and feet of Christ, and as long as something is opening your heart and mind to see Jesus in the marginalized and in the faces of God’s most vulnerable children, I’m happy. Who am I to argue with God’s Spirit?

I’m no Fanny Crosby.

I try. I try to put pretty and meaningful words together. Sometimes I do alright. Sometimes I fail miserably.

But I try. I’m putting forth some effort. And when I know I can’t make it happen, I hope I can keep pointing to saints like Fanny Crosby who have done a much more eloquent job than I. I hope that, in the end, my song is nothing less than:

Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,
let the earth hear God’s voice!
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,
let the people rejoice!
O come to the Father thru Jesus the Son,
and give him the glory,
great things he hath done!

It’s a hundred years older than I, but it’s a hymn with staying power. Crosby died some forty years after she penned those words, welcomed into rest on February 12, 1915. I think that makes this a good week to remember her. If you have a few minutes, read her story again. Plenty of people have recorded it. Celebrate a life of praise and inspiration, and see if the words God’s Spirit inspired in her nurture you into deeper discipleship.

O the pure delight of a single hour
that before thy throne I spend,
when I kneel in prayer, and with thee, my God,
I commune as friend with friend!