This week is Vacation Bible School at our church, and my four-year-old daughter's first year in attendance. In a moment of questionable sanity, I volunteered to help out in the nursery, with my two-year-old and three-month-old sons in tow. Suffice it to say, it's been a very VBS-centric sort of week.
On the CD of VBS songs, there's a hip-hop rendition of "To God Be the Glory" that starts out with a funky beat and a suave voice chanting, Check it out now, to God be the glory! "I wonder what Fanny Crosby would think of this?" I asked my husband as we listened to the CD in the car on our way home from church.
"Why?" he asked.
"She wrote this song," I told him. "She wrote, like, a hundred hymns or something, I think. I read a biography about her when I was little."
When we got home, I looked up Fanny Crosby online and found that my memory was slightly off. Crosby actually wrote over 8,000 hymns during her lifetime, and is considered by some to be the most prolific hymnist in recorded history.
In the anthology Literary Mama: Reading for the Maternally Inclined, editors Amy Hudock and Andrea J. Buchanan write about the legacy left to mother-writers by women who have mothered and written throughout history. But "our cultural memory seems so short," they observe. "Many of the mother-writers of the past have been largely forgotten, their legacy lost for their creative daughters."
I thought about the legacy that Christian women throughout the ages have left for their daughters as I started reading, again, about Fanny Crosby. Blinded in 1820 at six weeks of age by an improperly performed medical procedure, Crosby's story began to take on more meaning for me as I read about not only her hymnody, but also her life as a preacher, a lobbyist, ...1
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