Irenic Thoughts

Irenic. The word means peaceful. This web log (or blog) exists to create an ongoing, and hopefully peaceful, series of comments on the life of King of Peace Episcopal Church. This is not a closed community. You are highly encouraged to comment on any post or to send your own posts.


We Walk by Faith

Fanny Crosby (1820–1915) was six weeks old when a poultice was applied to her eyes that left her blinded for life. At the age of eight, she wrote this poem
Oh, what a happy soul am I!
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;
To weep and sigh because I'm blind,
I cannot, and I won't.
She attended a school of the blind and married a blind musician. She earned money writing secular songs. At 43, she started writing hymns and was so prolific that she wrote more than 8,000 of them before her death at 95 years of age.

Crosby became famous in her lifetime as a public speaker as well as a hymn writer. She played her hymn "Safe in the Arms of Jesus" at President U.S. Grant's 1885 funeral and frequently met with generals, presidents, and other person's of power and influence.

The story is told of a Scottish pastor who unthinkingly told Crosby, "I think it is a great pity that the Master, when He showered so many gifts upon you, did not give you sight."

Fanny is said to have come back quickly with, "Do you know that if at birth I had been able to make one petition to my Creator, it would have been that I should be born blind?"

"Why?" he asked.

"Because, when I get to heaven, the first face that shall ever gladden my sight will be that of my Savior."

In fact, a common feature of Crosby hymns is their use of the imagery of sight. For example, in her well-loved "Blessed Assurance, she wrote, "visions of rapture now burst on my sight." She truly learned to walk by faith and not by sight and saw her abilities as a gift from God and did not let what others called a disability trouble her.
O God, the blessed assurance of all who trust in you: We give you thanks for your servant Fanny Crosby, who, though blind from infancy, beheld your glory with great clarity of vision and spent her life giving voice to your people’s heartfelt praise; and we pray that we, inspired by her words and example, may rejoice to sing of your love, praising our Savior all the day long; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God in perfect harmony, now and for ever. Amen.


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