As I read through this hymn, would you like to know my first thought? I wondered how this would read in The Message translation. Yes, it has a lot of thou's and thee's, and sometimes I can get flustered with the old english and just stop paying attention to what it says. I chose this hymn because I opened the book up to it. Ah, the irony.
<< a history >>
This hymn is an Irish hymn written by an unknown poet in the 18th century. The author says, "It is one of our oldest and most moving hymns." A good place to start if one has to be chosen, yes? Since there is no author of the song, the author of the book chose St. Patrick's history to share for this hymn. If you aren't familiar with this saint of old, the nutshell story is he was born in Scotland, learned about Christ while a slave in Ireland, escaped, returned home, became a priest, and then returned to Ireland where he "became one of the most fruitful evangelists of all time."
<< the hymn and me >>
I love that this is the hymn I opened the book up to on this day. I don't necessarily have any memories that go with this song, but I know it. The tune came back to me as I read the first words.
I just finished a call-in with my online class, and we were talking about letting go and starting new. We spoke about editing our work and our lives. And then I read this hymn, and I thought to myself, "Yes. This is what I need." I need God to direct my paths, my choices, my letting go, and my starting anew. One of the girls at the call-in said "editing is a listening." Who else should I listen to when it comes to my life? Who else should I run to when making decisions? I've chosen badly before, and now it's time for me to choose God.
I know. Sometimes it seems all our listening is a vain attempt. We hear nothing. Our hearts long for direction and purpose and everything seems still and quiet. I know because I have been there. But you know what else? When I really listen deep, and find the important silence to open up to, I know within that I know the answers I am searching for. I have no idea if things seem silent because God is giving me that freedom to choose for myself, or because where I am headed is hard and He is letting me get there in my own time, or because what I know to be true is so counter to everything everyone else is saying I need time to understand it is not my rebellion that is leading me. And I don't think it matters anymore. But even when I feel I am not being led, when I feel He isn't giving me a vision, He still is with me as I choose.
<< the hymn >>
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 though with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father, and I thy true son,
Thou in my dwelling, and I with thee one.
Riches I heed not, nor man's empty praise;
Thou min 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.
(Irish Hymn, c. 8th centry, Irish Folk Melody)