Norwegian: Gå meg ei forbi, o Jesus
Text: Fanny Crosby (1820-1915) Tune: William H. Doane (1832-1915)
1. Pass me not, O gentle Savior Hear my humble cry While on others Thou art calling Do not pass me by
R/Savior, Savior Hear my humble cry While on others Thou art calling Do not pass me by.
2. Let me at Thy throne of mercy Find a sweet relief, Kneeling there in deep contrition Help my unbelief.
3. Trusting only in Thy merit Would I seek Thy face; Heal my wounded, broken spirit Save me by Thy grace.
4. Thou the spring of all my comfort, More than life to me, Whom have I on earth beside thee? Whom in heaven but thee?
One of Fanny Crosby’s most well known hymn of thousands, this hymn refers directly to Scripture and the story of Jesus passing by a blind beggar. As he hears Jesus is passing by, he cries out frantically, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me.” His hollering is so loud the people in the front of the gathering want him to shut up. “They rebuked him, telling him to be silent.” This did not stop him, he cried out all the louder and Jesus stopped and wanted to talk with the man. When he asks what the man wants him to do, which he knows quite well already, the man tells him he wants to recover his sight. Jesus grants his wish, then commends him: “Your faith has made you well.” At this the man rejoices and begins to follow Jesus. All the people seeing it gave praise to God.
Some have criticized Crosby’s hymn because Jesus would never pass us by, as this story shows. This is a kind of literalism up with which I will not put! The hymn uses an account of Jesus' healing directly from Scripture, but is not Scripture. It reflects on it and expresses the feelings of the blind man as he screams for Jesus to talk with him. It puts us in the place of the blind beggar. It is good to have hymns that teach us the many ways we can relate to Jesus. We may sometimes think Jesus is passing us by, and need to sing this hymn. Crosby knew whereof she spoke--she had been blind since birth. We may not believe he will stop. As Crosby puts in in the second stanza, “Help my unbelief.” A cry we might well need to sing often.
There are many times each of us may have thought Jesus is not listening and going to help others, not us. We may shout and scream to him—and this story says that is all right. It is those who want the blind man to shut up who have missed the point. And then, always, as has been said many times, Jesus is there. It is interesting to see that he asks the beggar what he wants. He is teaching us what prayer is. We can suffer and rail against our situations, but he wants us to speak our petitions to him—to pray for healing.
Crosby, who did not seek healing because, she said, the first thing she wanted to see was the face of Jesus, assures us we can freely cry out to the Lord for help in any way, at any time. Jesus is everything to us, the one whose face we seek. More than life, the only one we have. From him springs all healing and joy. Praise God!
This hymn was written after the Civil War. Fanny was growing increasingly prolific. Where this text comes from in her life experience, we do not know; there are far too many of them for us to have any record of the moment that occasioned it, although it clearly is based on the story from the Gospels. I wouldn't be surprised if someone didn't ask her to write on the text, or, given her own blindness, she wanted to write a text on this passage. .
William Doane worked closely with Crosby and wrote many –some think over 1500-- tunes for her texts. Doane was a man of parts. Raised as a Presbyterian, he converted to the Baptist faith in his adulthood. While he had a life-long interest in music, he worked for his father’s company, the J. A. Fay and Company. At the age of thirty, he became president of the company and was known for his inventions of woodworking machines—he took out over seventy patents on his inventions. At the Paris Exposition of 1889, his company won the Grand Prix and he was named a Chevalier of the Legion of Honor. He made a name for himself as a banker, engineer, becoming one of the wealthy benefactors in Cinncinnati. He supported Moody Bible Institute, Denison University, the YMCA, and worked with his wife and daughter to support missions around the world. Doane published many musical compositions as well. He edited over forty-three books of hymns and composed over 2300 works of music, even two cantatas on Santa Claus. All in all a gifted and generous man. This tune is among his most beloved. It is popular around the world. Look at the millions who have viewed it!
Pastor Dewey Smith and The Greater Travelers Rest Baptist congregation
Norwegian: Synnøve Aanensen
Mosby Bedehus with Norwegian Text