Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Christ Centred Spiritual Songs Part One: Be Thou My Vision

Be Thou My Vision is probably one of the most popular hymns and one of my personal favourites. The original words are believed to be written by Dallan Forgaill in the eighth century; later translated from ancient Irish to English by Mary E. Byrne in  1905, and later still, compiled into verse by Eleanor H. Hull in 1912.

For me, the hymn is a challenge to keep Christ central and to remember that He is everything. He is our vision, our wisdom, our safety, our strength and our reward: "It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God--that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption." (1Cor 1:30)

It is also a hymn which cuts through the superficial activities which often accompany our Christianity. It cuts to the heart and creates an opportunity for us to test our heart's desires, motives and ambitions: "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."

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.

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