July 28, 2010
Our August Hymn of the Month is Blessed Assurance by Fanny J. Crosby. Fanny was disabled, blinded as a result of bad medical advice when only six months old. Yet she came to embrace and even thank God for her blindness, becoming a very influential hymn writer and public speaker around the turn of the 20th century. She said these words about her disability.
“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.” When only eight years old she composed the following poem:
Oh, what a happy child I am, although I cannot see!
I am resolved that in this world contented I will be!
How many blessings I enjoy that other people don’t!
So weep or sigh because I’m blind, I cannot — nor I won’t!
In August, Trinity Church is celebrating and honoring those in our congregation who are disabled. We have a growing number of families with disabled children who are an indispensable part of our children’s’ and youth ministries. They have a support group called King’s Kids. We also have a growing number of adults with disabilities who attend and serve in our Sunday worship services. They are part of our Light & Power Sunday School class, led by Jeff and Kathi McNair. Many of us at Trinity share the opinion that our disabled family members make Trinity a beautiful congregation. Scripture affirms that, “But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.” (1 Corinthians 12:18-20 NIV)
Paul continues with what is the secret to the beautifying of the body of Christ called Trinity Church. We have discovered that we need the disabled members of our church family.
“The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 24 while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.” (1 Corinthians 12:21-26 NIV)
And so we are rejoicing in the part of our body that is disabled. Check out our August edition of Connections Magazine celebrating a few of our treasured families and individuals. And be sure to come and worship with us on August 8 for our Disability Celebration Sunday.
Back to Fanny J. Crosby’s beloved hymn, Blessed Assurance. “Crosby was visiting her friend Phoebe Knapp as the Knapp home was having a large pipe organ installed. The organ was incomplete so, using the piano, Mrs. Knapp played a new melody she had just composed. “What do you think the tune says?” asked Knapp. “Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine”, answered Fanny Crosby.”
The lyrics that immediately flowed from Fanny’s heart through her fingers, bears testimony that she knew who she was in Christ, an heir of salvation, a purchase of God, born of his Spirit and washed in his blood. (All references from Scripture if you care to check them out: Titus 3:7, 1 Cor. 6:20, John 3:5-8, Heb. 9:14) The other verses demonstrate that her delight, rest, and happiness came from her constant gaze upon Christ, his goodness and love. The moment our story connects with God’s story and we place faith in Christ, we not only become an heir of salvation, we also learn to express our delight and gratitude to God through becoming worshipers, praising our Savior all the day long. May this be our song in August, 2010 and forevermore!
Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!
O what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.
This is my story, this is my song,
praising my Savior all the day long;
this is my story, this is my song,
praising my Savior all the day long.
Perfect submission, perfect delight!
Visions of rapture now burst on my sight;
Angels descending bring from above
Echoes of mercy, whispers of love.
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.