Saturday, March 21, 2009

Singing about redemption on her death bed-the first ordained Presbyterian woman

The first Presbyterian woman ordained in the United States was Rev. Mrs. Louisa M. Woosley. She was ordained in the Cumberland Presbyterian Church in 1889. Her story can be found at the Historical Foundation of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church and the Cumberland Presbyterian Church in America.

I thought of her as I was listening to one of my favorite country music groups, the Chuck Wagon Gang, sing the song she sung on her death bed. You might also remember it at the end of O Brother Where Art Thou.

The article about Woosley explains.

"During her later years, Woosley's eyesight failed her, and she spent her final year confined to her bed, after breaking a hip. Until her death, she was comforted by the memory of scripture and songs that had been a part of her life. She died on 30 June 1952. In fitting tribute, this gospel song which she sang on her deathbed was sung at her funeral:

My latest sun is sinking fast,
My race is nearly run;
My strongest trials now are past,
My triumphs begun.
O, bear my longing heart to Him,
Who bled and died for me;
Whose blood now cleanses from all sin,
And gives me victory.
O come, angel band, come and around me stand ·
O bear me away on your snowy wings to my immortal home."

The point here isn't that she was ordained but that she loved Jesus and wanted to proclaim his saving grace. She wasn't seeking rights but was seeking to be faithful in all ways to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

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