The Story Behind The Hymn

Discussion in 'Music Ministry' started by Linda64, Feb 13, 2008.

  1. Linda64

    Linda64
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    How many of us know the story behind the hymns we sing in church...I'm speaking of the great hymns of the faith (prior to 1950).

    I'll start with a well-known hymn writer, the late Frances Jane (Fanny) Crosby. This comes from the cyberhymnal.org website. I am sure there are other websites for hymn writers, but this site has much information:

    Frances Jane Crosby
    Fanny Crosby
    1820-1915

    Born: March 24, 1820, Putnam County, New York.

    Died: February 12, 1915, Bridgeport, Connecticut.

    Buried: Bridgeport, Connecticut.

    Fanny Crosby was probably the most prolific hymnist in history. Though blinded by an incompetent doctor at six weeks of age, she wrote over 8,000 hymns. About her blindness, she said:

    It seemed intended by the blessed providence of God that I should be blind all my life, and I thank him for the dispensation. If perfect earthly sight were offered me tomorrow I would not accept it. I might not have sung hymns to the praise of God if I had been distracted by the beautiful and interesting things about me.

    In her lifetime, Fanny Crosby was one of the best known women in the United States. To this day, the vast majority of Ameri*can hymnals contain her work.

    When Fanny died, her tombstone carried the words, “Aunt Fanny” and “Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine. Oh, what a foretaste of glory divine.” Eliza Hewitt memorialized Fanny’s passing in a poem which was read at her funeral:

    Away to the country of sunshine and song,
    Our songbird has taken her flight,
    And she who has sung in the darkness so long
    Now sings in the beautiful light;
    The harp-strings here broken are sweetly restrung
    To ring in a chorus sublime;
    The hymns that on earth she so trustfully sung
    Keep tune with eternity’s chime!

    What heart can conceive of the rapture she knows
    Awakened to glories so bright,
    Where radiant splendor unceasingly glows,
    Where cometh no shadows of night!
    Her ‘life-work is ended,’ and over the tide,
    ‘Redeemed’ in His presence to stand,
    She knows her Redeemer, for her crucified,
    ‘By the print of the nails in His hand.’

    ‘Blessed Assurance’—the lamp in her soul
    That made earthly midnight as naught!
    A ‘New Song’ of joy shall unceasingly roll
    To Him who her ransom had bought.
    To ‘Rescue the Perishing,’ her greatest delight,
    What bliss, in the Homeland, to meet
    With those she has told of the Lord’s saving might,
    Together, to bow at His feet.

    Good-bye, dearest Fanny, goodbye for a while,
    You walk in the shadows no more;
    Around you, the sunbeams of glory will smile;
    The Lamb is the Light of that Shore!
    Someday we will meet in the City above;
    Together, we’ll look on His face;
    Safe, ‘Safe in the Arms’ of the Jesus we love;
    Together we’ll sing, ‘Saved by Grace!’

    Rothwell, p. 47

    http://www.cyberhymnal.org/bio/c/r/o/crosby_fj.htm
     
    #1 Linda64, Feb 13, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 13, 2008
  2. tinytim

    tinytim
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    Great idea for a thread!!
     
  3. Timsings

    Timsings
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    I have posted this before on another thread, but it bears repeating here. If you are interested in reading about the stories behind hymns, a good resource would be my father's book Songs of Glory: Stories of 300 Great Hymns and Gospel Songs. It is a compilation of his column, "History of Hymns", that appeared originally in The Nashville Banner and finally in The United Methodist Reporter. Its only deficiency is that it does not contain many of what we might consider "Baptist" hymns (e. g., by B. B. McKinney). This is due to the long association of the column with the Methodists. I'm not sure whether the book is available from the publisher (Zondervan), but it available from Amazon.com.

    William J. Reynolds worked in the music department at the Baptist Sunday School Board in Nashville for 25 years, retiring as the head of the department. In 1980, he moved to Fort Worth, Texas, to join the faculty of the school of church music at Southwestern Baptist Seminary. He retired in 1998 (at the age of 78). He is a hymnologist, a composer, and the author of other books including two hymnal companions. He and my mother have moved back to Nashville.

    Tim Reynolds
     
  4. Sopranette

    Sopranette
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    I got a copy of this book about a year ago, I guess. Knowing a little bit about the authors of some of our favorite hymns has really helped me fully express the feelings contained in the songs, and also made me curious to learn songs I might have otherwise overlooked before. Thank you, Tim!

    love,

    Sopranette
     
  5. DHK

    DHK
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    Love divine, so great and wondrous,
    Deep and mighty, pure, sublime!
    Coming from the heart of Jesus,
    Just the same through tests of time.


    Refrain
    He the pearly gates will open,
    So that I may enter in;
    For He purchased my redemption
    And forgave me all my sin.



    Like a dove when hunted, frightened,
    As a wounded fawn was I;
    Brokenhearted, yet He healed me,
    He will heed the sinner’s cry.


    Refrain


    Love divine, so great and wondrous,
    All my sins He then forgave!
    I will sing His praise forever,
    For His blood, His power to save.


    Refrain


    In life’s eventide, at twilight,
    At His door I’ll knock and wait;
    By the precious love of Jesus
    I shall enter Heaven’s gate.

    I got the words off of cyberhymnal.com, but I heard the story behind the hymn elsewhere. We sing this hymn in our Prison ministry often. The author was on death row, awaiting his execution. He got saved. He wrote these words with the realization that though these prison doors may never open, those pearly gates would open, and he would enter in!
    Hallelujah!
     
  6. Zenas

    Zenas
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    One of my most treasured Christmas gifts last year was a book called Then Sings My Soul--150 of the World's Greatest Hymn Stories. It is compiled by Robert J. Morgan and published in 2003 by Thomas Nelson Publishers. The format is with the hymn on the left and a history of the hymn opposite on the right page. It contains all the old favorites. The hymn with by far the most poignant history is It Is Well With My Soul. However, my personal favorite is Holy, Holy, Holy!
     
  7. rbell

    rbell
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    I enjoyed having your father as a professor. I would say that I was the best student he ever had, but modesty prevents it. :laugh:

    Seriously, it was inspiring to be taught by such a legendary figure with regards to church music.

    So, he's 88 now? How's Dr. Reynolds' health?





    Back to the OP...I look forward to being with my materials starting Tuesday...I look forward to commenting...
     
  8. Timsings

    Timsings
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    Dad is doing pretty well. He will actually turn 88 in April. He has had a couple of serious strokes, so he has to use a walker. He and my mother still go to church most weeks. I give Dad books when I find something he might like. He can read and analyze what he's read very well. He comes to our monthly Sacred Harp meetings and to our two annual all-day singings. They go to programs at Belmont University and other places. So, they're pretty active. When I was in Fort Worth for the seminary singing a couple of weeks ago, I picked up a load of barbecue from Cousin's over on McCart Avenue. It's Dad's favorite. He really enjoyed it.

    Tim Reynolds
     
  9. tank1976

    tank1976
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    I purchased a book called " The sings my souls" Vol. 1 & 2.

    It has many great older hymns and the great stories behind the songs.

    God has lead me to use this bokk many times in messages, bible studies, and teachign in general. It is one of the greatest resources I have bought.:thumbs:
     
  10. Deacon

    Deacon
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