Be Thou My Vision

on Monday, September 24, 2007

I previously posted on the song "Just As I Am" which was the first Christian song that was meaningful to me after I first became a follower of Christ. My knowledge and preference for Christian songs was to grow and change even as I grew in my young faith and journeyed along life's road.

The next song that held a special place for me is this lovely hymn "Be Thou My Vision". Having placed my trust and surrendered my life to Jesus, I found my experience of God to be just wonderful and vibrant. This song, in my opinion, is a love song to God and most suitable for this was the time I was caught up in the wonder of God's love and loving Him back in response. The words of the song were originally in ancient Irish and is at­trib­ut­ed to Dal­lan For­gaill, dating from the 8th Cen­tu­ry (Rob tu mo bhoile, a Com­di cri­de). It was then translated to English in 1905 by Mary E. Bryne and versed by Eleanor H. Hull in 1912.

I also just love this melody. I really like Celtic and Irish music and this lilting tune is a fantastic representation of the genre and tradition. It was derived from an old Irish folk melody called Slane which in turn recalls how in 433 AD at Slane Hill in County Meath, the Christian Missionary, St. Patrick defied the High King Logaire of Tara by lighting candles to celebrate Easter. The King had forebade anyone to light a fire on that day as it was his privelege to light a bonfire on Tara Hill as part of the pagan Spring Festival. However, instead of punishing St. Patrick, King Logaire was impressed by his bravery and devotion and allowed him to continue spreading the Gospel of Christ.

I only learned most of that in recent times through the wonders of internet. So as interesting as the history and stories related to the song are, it was the sincere and honest words of the song that would most entrap my heart. This now is my love song to God and my prayer that from now to the end of life, no matter what may befall me, He would remain my Vision always.

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.

Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word;
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.

Be Thou my battle Shield, Sword for the fight;
Be Thou my Dignity, Thou my Delight;
Thou my soul’s Shelter, Thou my high Tower:
Raise Thou me heavenward, O Power of my power.

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.


Dave said...

There is something very precious about those old favorites despite the fact that so many people are dropping them for the contemporary hyms.

Your lyrics brings back a lot of old memories! Thaks for the reminders! :-)

Gledwood said...

this is my favourite protestant hymn (i think it is protestant; i'm not sure: we did it at school)

There is a green hill far away
without a city wall
where our dear Lord was crucified
who died to save us all...

do you know that one?

It is beautiful and simple. Like many of the best things...

HeiressChild said...

beautiful hymn LGS and a great testimony to your relationship with The Lord. that's why i love all of michael w. smith's songs-- because of the words and how they speak to me.

Diesel said...

I really like these sorts of hymns too. We sing this one occasionally.

Jocelyn said...

I will tell you true: I often find it difficult to read posts when people write about their faith, most likely because there is usually an implicit feeling that their faith is the only, the right faith, and all readers should agree.

But you express your personal faith with passion and love, yet I don't end up feeling judged by it. I end up admiring who you are and the choices you've made.

geewits said...

I wrote a paper in college on the history of Christmas carols and how the Christians took pagan songs and changed the words. I'll have to find that. Thanks for reminding me of that. I'll do a post on that in December. Although I'm not very religious, I have found some songs to be very moving.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

The new worship songs can be wonderful too but we should not neglect to learn some of the old standards. gGranted though the lyrics in this one is a bit archaic in its form of English but in this particular case, it adds to its charm.

I do know that hymn. As you say, simple is best. Simple and sincere.

I have to be honest about not really keeping abreast with contemporary Christian music but among the few I know, Michael W. Smith's songs do stand out exactly for the reasons you give. I particularly like "It's all about you."

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

I am glad you like these old hymns too. I wish some of the young people would give it a chance.

Thank you for the kind words. When I share about my faith, it is like when I share about anything else about my life. I am just testifying to what has been good for me and what has been bad. Knowing and following Jesus has been the most important thing in my life and I'd recommend Him to everyone. But it's not about being better than other people. In fact, when I became a Christian, I was overwhelmed by two things. Number 1 was just how terrible, sinful, arrogant and selfish I was. Number 2 was the wonder of God's grace that He offered forgiveness, love and peace. So, if I boast it would be about how bad I am and how great God is.

Look forward to your post on the topic. I am familiar with one or two of those type of songs. O Tannenbaum, O Christmas Tree is one.

Janice Thomson said...

I like the old hymns too Lgs...I feel the language used is more symbolic and profound.

Becky Wolfe said...

I also love those old hymns. Tho I love so many of the new worship songs, when an old hymn comes into the roster on sunday mornings, I feel them more meaningfully now than I did 20 years ago!

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

janice & becky,
Glad we all like old hymns. Just in case , you think I only know old hymns, I just like to say that isn't the case. :)

patterns of ink said...

I have a list of meaningful hymns that I want my children to know. This is one of them. I'm okay with many of the new praise and worship choruses--especially those that put scripture to music--but frankly, some of them are vain repitition. Some of the old ones are timeless and will survive. I'm confident of that, but miss them in the meantime.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

I think it is a great idea to pass some of these hymns on to your kids. I agree some modern choruses are just vain repetitions. Some are even down right worrying. There is one song that says "Jesus, My heavenly Darling." Nope, never saw that name in the bible and seems to be frivolous and having no meaning.

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