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Old Church Hymnals: Tell Me The Story Of Jesus


On most Sunday’s I find myself pouring through my old Red Book of Church Hymns.  Church gatherings used these exclusively back years ago: the ‘red’, ‘blue’ or ‘green’ hymnals which could always be found tucked into the back of the pew in front of you…Today, very few Churches use them, depending more now upon the big screens which are usually positioned up high in front, which scrolls the words of the more modern songs we sing.

We’ve come a long way from what use to be known in the South as ‘line singing’. That was done in Churches which couldn’t afford but one hymnal, and had no organ or piano: The guy with the hymnal would speak or sing out a ‘line’…and the congregation would echo or repeat it back to him. It was beautiful to hear. There was something pure about hearing songs about Jesus, Heaven, Enduring, etc.  sung that way…I’ve been told it was brought here to America by those who came here from Scotland and settled in the Appalachian Mountains of Kentucky and Tennessee. This would explain why it was common in the little Churches in KY where my family is from, for they can be traced back to arriving here from Scotland in the late 1700’s.   If you’ve never heard line singing, you can get a sense of what it is here:

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4632964 

Well, you can tell I’m in a musing mood today!  Pouring through my old Red Hymnal usually takes me back, recalling old memories.

ANYWAY…today I came upon one of my favorites: Tell Me the Story of Jesus.

I love this old song and its inspired words, and love the story of Fanny Crosby. Some years ago I read a book about her life..after reading that she had written many of the songs found in these old Hymnals, I went through my Hymnal counting one day: It’s no exaggeration to say there must be at least 15 of her songs in my book.

There are days in which I need to be reminded of the Story of Jesus, and nothing more. Not studying theology, or the finer points of doctrine can take the place of just recalling the simple story of Jesus. Between my Bible and my little Red Hymnal, that’s what I’ve done today.

****************************

The story of Fanny Crosby is one of sorrow, yet of the deepest love. At the age of six weeks old, Fanny developed an eye infection. The family physician was unavailable so another physician was called. He applied hot mustard poultices to the baby’s eyes. This caused severe burns to Fanny’s eyes and she was permanently blind from then on.
Fanny never felt bitter but instead grew into a young woman who “saw” God in everything around her and in every circumstance that life handed to her. Although she was physically blind, Fanny had the keenest of spiritual sight…which is reflected in her 9,000 plus hymns. Her love for God and her eagerness to share with others what Christ had done for them brought countless numbers to Christ.

God gifted Fanny with the ability to put into words what her heart contained. She gave full credit to God for what she was able to accomplish in His name. Today, so many of our favorite and famous hymns are from this small, humble blind woman who opened her heart to see what those with physical sight often could not.

Fanny married and had one child, who died shortly after birth. Her insight on a mother’s love is reflected in an incredibly beautiful poem: The Child and the Angel.

Everything that touched Fanny in this life found a way into her poems and hymns. When we read Fanny’s poetry or sing her hymns we are confronted with a blinding truth. Fanny knew her Savior as a real and living person. He was with her moment by moment each and every day. He was as real to her as the “physical” people in her life. It is because she knew Him as a living breathing person that her hymns reflect that truth and are so loved by Christians everywhere.

Fanny’s legacy lives on through the wealth of hymns she has left behind. A heart-felt legacy for the future generations of Christians to come.

****************************

Tell me the story of Jesus,
Write on my heart every word.
Tell me the story most precious,
Sweetest that ever was heard.
Tell how the angels in chorus,
Sang as they welcomed His birth.
“Glory to God in the highest!
Peace and good tidings to earth.”

Tell me the story of Jesus,
Write on my heart every word.
Tell me the story most precious,
Sweetest that ever was heard.

Fasting alone in the desert,
Tell of the days that are past.
How for our sins He was tempted,
Yet was triumphant at last.
Tell of the years of His labor,
Tell of the sorrow He bore.
He was despised and afflicted,
Homeless, rejected and poor.

Tell me the story of Jesus,
Write on my heart every word.
Tell me the story most precious,
Sweetest that ever was heard.

Tell of the cross where they nailed Him,
Writhing in anguish and pain.
Tell of the grave where they laid Him,
Tell how He liveth again.
Love in that story so tender,
Clearer than ever I see.
Stay, let me weep while you whisper,
Love paid the ransom for me.

Tell me the story of Jesus,
Write on my heart every word.
Tell me the story most precious,
Sweetest that ever was heard.

http://www.cyberhymnal.org/htm/t/e/tellmsoj.htm 

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5 comments on “Old Church Hymnals: Tell Me The Story Of Jesus

  1. […] Posted by healtheland on August 14th, 2007 Old Church Hymnals: Tell Me The Story Of Jesus […]

  2. Thanks healtheland!

  3. […] PJ MIller: “There are days in which I need to be reminded of the Story of Jesus, and nothing more. Not studying theology, or the finer points of doctrine can take the place of just recalling the simple story of Jesus.” […]

  4. Thank you, Lord, for savi9ng my soul,
    Thank you Lord, for making me whole,
    Thank you Lord for giving to me,
    Thy great Salvation, so rich and free.

    (And) Thank you, Lord, for giving me a mother who introduced me to this hymn.

  5. Love this song it says so much to me how he paid the price for my salvation to bring me home heaven in the new life.

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