Thursday, February 11, 2010

Fanny Crosby

Last week I mentioned that the Episcopal Church calendar has added many "provisional" commemorations this year, and today is one of the new ones most relevant to hymn lovers.

Fanny Crosby has been newly placed on this calendar (one day before the anniversary of her death in 1915), though, as the linked lectionary site points out, none of her works appear in the current denominational Hymnal 1982 (or its immediate predecessor, the Hymnal 1940). In fact, I'm not yet sure whether any of her gospel songs made it to the "official" denominational hymnals of 1871, 1892, or 1916; their indexes are not as robust as modern-day hymnals generally boast, but I haven't found any yet.

However, she has often appeared in supplemental Episcopalian books, from the current Voices Found (2003) which has Blessed assurance and To God be the glory, to Lift Every Voice and Sing II, all the way back to The Mission Hymnal (1885) and the earliest one I've found, the Hymnal for Children (1877), which included Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord.

This one probably did not appear in any Episcopalian collections, but it's my most recent Fanny "find."

When the clouds hang low and heavy,
And the rolling surge we hear,
When no earthly pow’r can shield us
From the storm that most we fear,
O ’tis then our Savior’s presence
To the trusting heart is shown,
In a bright and glorious vision
Of the rainbow 'round the throne.

O the rainbow 'round the throne!
Lovely rainbow 'round the throne!
Ever brilliant, ever sparkling
Shines the rainbow 'round the throne.

When we stand amid the conflict
Of the battle raging high,
When the tempter seems to triumph,
And our friends despairing fly,
With the fleetness of an arrow
God’s protecting care is shown,
In the brightness that descendeth
From the rainbow 'round the throne.

When the veil of time is lifted,
And the shadows melt away,
When we fall asleep in Jesus,
And awake in endless day,
When the battle march is ended,
And our cares and tears have flown,
We shall gaze, and gaze forever,
On the rainbow 'round the throne.

Fanny Crosby, 1891; alt.
Tune; RAINBOW ROUND ( with refrain)
John R. Sweney, 1891

I think Fanny would have appreciated this honor, even though she herself was a Methodist. She knew that her songs were sung across many denominations, and we know that they still are.

I like the prayer appointed for this day:

O God, the blessed assurance of all who trust in thee: We give thee thanks for thy servant Fanny Crosby, who, though blind from infancy, beheld thy glory with great clarity of vision and spent her life giving voice to thy people’s heartfelt praise; and we pray that we, inspired by her words and example, may rejoice to sing of thy love, praising our Savior all the day long; who livest and reignest with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God in perfect harmony, now and for ever. Amen.

One Year Ago: Washington Gladden


Dorothy said...

Oh, I like that "Fanny find," C.W.S. And she surely does deserve a day of commemoration!

Leland Bryant Ross said...

Yes! Yes!

Leland Bryant Ross said...

The first and third verses of this made the final cut for next Sunday's hymn-sing! To God Be the Glory!