As I’ve been doing on Sundays, I’m continuing my series “Then Sings My Soul: The Hymns of My Youth” (â€?HoMYâ€? for short in the titles.) This week I’ve selected Fanny Crosby‘s “Blessed Assurance.” I didn’t know that she had written so many hymns — she used almost 100 aliases when publishing them. A popular gal for her abilities in writing hymns and some popular music, she even played at the funeral of President Ulysses S. Grant. In any event, this hymn — oddly, perhaps — always reminds me of The Waltons. There must have been a scene set in Rev. Fordwick’s (played by John Ritter) church where they were singing the hymn… I don’t recall exactly. We sang it in the church where I grew up, of course… but I remember The Waltons. The hymn fits that setting so well, too… just a little idyllic, full of the kind of faith that everyone around you has and nobody questions. This is not the source of the assurance of which the song speaks, but it probably made it easier to find in those years. Good thing, too — The Depression (when The Waltons was set) was a time for needing to be able to find one’s assurance and rest in God. Things were a bit different by the 70’s, of course. Still, finding in God the assurance of one’s faith and being able to rest in it is a blessed thing indeed… we could all use a dose of that from time to time. And if I dare say so, it’s not entirely unlike The Waltons, where by the end of the hour when the lights are turned off, you have a moment for reflection which you can fill with sentiment and peace, and at least for the moment, everything is right in the world. Despite the mockery that the series and its signature closing lines have taken over the years, those who remember the show will still hear them and be struck with a sense of peaceful closure.
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.
Good night, John-boy.