Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Fanny Crosby

The American great hymn writer Fanny Crosby was born on this day in 1820. During her lifetime she saw over 8,000 of her poems set to music and over 100,000,000 copies of her songs printed. Some of my personal favourites are Redeemed, Blessed Assurance, Near the Cross and to God be the Glory.

The first hymn to win her world-wide attention is the one closest to my own heart - Pass Me Not. Fanny composed this hymn in 1868 after a prison service. As she spoke to the prisoners, one inmate cried out, "O Lord, don't pass me by!" She was so moved that she went home and wrote her famous plea.

In all my years of prison ministry I have found this hymn, after Amazing Grace, to be the one that has most effect on those who are incarcerated. Fanny once said: "Mother, if I had a choice, I would still choose to remain blind ... for when I die; the first face I will ever see will be the face of my blessed Saviour."

In February 12, 1915 she finally saw the face of Jesus. Below is a video overview of her life from Mars Hill Church.

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