Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Blessed Assurance: Jesus is Mine

Sorry for the delay, but here is another one for the books!

Title: Blessed Assurance: Jesus is Mine

Tune: Assurance

Numeric Outline: with refrain

Composer: Phoebe Palmer Knapp (1839-1908)

Author: Fanny J. Crosby (1820-1915)

     Many authors who are known for hymns have been ordained ministers before they started writing verse, but Fanny J. Crosby, however, was not. Although she was not ordained, she held a very prominent role in the history of the United States, Crosby was the first woman to be heard in front of the United States Senate. Born Southeast County, Putnam, New York, March 24th 1820, she became blind at only six weeks of age. She became blind because she did not receive proper treatment while she had a bout of illness. As Crosby grew older, she moved to the city of Eidgefield, Connecticut and lived there for four years, when she eventually returned to New York. At the age of 15, Crosby began her studies as the New York institution for the Blind, and later in 1847 she became a teacher there as well. During her time at the institution, Crosby spent the school vacations away in North Reading, Massachusetts, where she wrote numerous poems for Dr. Geo F. Root, professor of music at the blind institution.
     Through her years at the blind institution, Crosby came across many prominent political figures, and among them was one Henry Clay. When Crosby met with Henry Clay, she had already wrote him several poems, one of which was written to honor Clay's son who had been killed in the Civil War. Crosby says of her meeting with Clay  " When Mr. Clay came to the institution during his last visit to New York, I was selected to welcome him with a poem. Six months before he had lost a son at the battle of Monterey, and I had sent him some verses. In my address I carefully avoided any allusion to them, in order not to wound him. When I had finished he drew my arm in his, and, addressing the audience, said through his tears: ' This is not the first poem for which I am indebted to this lady. Six months ago she sent me some lines on the death of my dear son.' Both of us were overcome for a few moments. Soon, by a splendid effort, Mr. Clay recovered himself, but I could not control my tears." Over the 95 ninety-five years of Crosby's life, she penned nearly eight thousand poems in all, but not all of them were set to music. Though she never officially published collections of hymns, she did have four collections of verse that she published on her own: The Blind Girl, and Other Poems (1844), Monterey, and Other Poems (1849), A Wreath of Columbia's Flowers (1858) and finally, The Bells at Evening and Other Verses (1897). 
     The tune "Assurance," comes from the pen of one Phoebe Palmer knapp, who was born in New York, New York in 1839. From a young age, it was noted that she had considerable musical talent, and being the daughter of a well known Methodist Evangelist, Walter C. Palmer, it was no wonder she began writing gospel tunes to be used as settings for many poems. In 1855 at the young age of 16, Knapp was married to her husband John Farfield Knapp, and several years later they became founders of the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company. After her husbands death, Knapp was left with a considerable wealth, which she shared with many different charitable organizations throughout New York. Through her career, Phoebe Palmer Knapp wrote nearly 500 different gospel tunes, of which two remain in popular use today, "Blessed Assurance," and "Open the Gates of the Temple."

The Text

  1. 1) Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!
    Oh, what a foretaste of glory divine!
    Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
    Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.

  2. Refrain:
  3. This is my story, this is my song,
  4. Praising my Savior all the day long;
  5. This is my story, this is my song,
  6. Praising my Savior all the day long.
  7. 2) Perfect submission, perfect delight,
    Visions of rapture now burst on my sight;
    Angels, descending, bring from above
    Echoes of mercy, whispers of love.
  8. 3) 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.

My Take on the Hymn
     This hymn seems to me to be telling the story of a person who is living in the light of Christ throughout their life. The first verse talks about having a" foretaste of glory divine!" which we as Christians can get a taste of every day if we simply turn to God in prayer. The refrain is interesting as well because it says "Praising my savior all the day long," but in this instance one could take the meaning of day to be "Life," not just a 24 hour period. The second verse goes into giving ourselves to God, especially because the Kingdom of Christ is at hand. The voice of the text is having visions of the rapture and knows that the end is near, but even in this vision, the voice knows that God loves them and that God will be merciful to the righteous. The last verse talks about loving Christ with your whole heart, especially in reference to 1 Peter 1:8 which reads "Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy." This is one of the most important bible verses to me, because it says it all when it comes to faith. If we are patient and have faith, we will be filled with hope and filled with love that will be inexpressibly joyful. 

The Hymn

The Music:

Here is the Music, if you can't read it, listen to the video and follow along!

Julian, John. "Blessed Assurance." Hymnary.org. Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, n.d. Web. 11 Sept. 2012. <http://www.hymnary.org/text/blessed_assurance_jesus_is_mine>.

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