“Be thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that thou art;
Thou my best thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, thy presence my light.”
This eighth century Irish hymn wonderfully magnifies our holy Lord. His light, made clearer and more real since the author is unknown. The name and story behind this Irish melody is absent; and, therefore, does not take away from the true meaning of the words and message.
In fact, most hymns come complete with a story attached, often as fascinating as the music itself. One cannot forget John Newton’s Amazing Grace, which comes to mind with images of thunderous waves and slave ships.
The story behind Edward Perronet’s All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name written in 1779 has an exciting rescue of the young missionary, Reverend E.P. Scott, who upon being threatened by warriors with spears pointing at his heart, pulled out his violin, prayed and played this majestic tune. By the third verse “Let every kindred, every tribe….” Rev. Scott found them crying and many on their knees. An unforgettable tidbit of hymnal history.
Nearer my God to Thee, written in 1840, has a tale of titanic proportions. Stuart Hamblen’s It is No Secret, penned in 1949, speaks of revival, celebrity, and newness of life. The 26-year old Swedish minister, Carl Boberg, wrote the poem How Great Thou Art in 1885. Left and forgotten, these wondrous words were later found and sung to a Swedish melody. Today, it is one of the most recognizable tunes of all time. All memorable and faithful treasures of hymnal stories. And all surrounding powerful songs of worship.
However, without the distraction of the songwriter’s storyline, Be Thou my Vision, stands up as a unique force of faith. It takes hold of our hearts and weaves the nature of a relationship available to us all with Father God.
Be Thou my Vision comes across with clarity as it leans fully on its thoughtful, Christian message surrounded by an ancient and melodious tune. Therefore, the worship stance is able to permeate our senses allowing the LORD to be the stronghold of our lives. Is He the stronghold of your life?
By Diane Raborn © dfr Soli Deo Gloria 6 March 2009
“Be thou my Wisdom, and thou my true Word;
I ever with thee an thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father and I thy true son,
Thou in my dwelling, and I in thee one.”
“Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise;
Thou mine inheritance, now and always;
Thou and thou only, first in my heart,
High King of heaven, my treasure thou art.”
“High king of heaven, my victory won,
May I reach heaven’s joys, O bright heaven’s Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my Vision, O ruler of all.”
Thank you Diane – St Stephen’s Anglican Church