A Week in Music – Be Thou My Vision

I could have chosen a number of hymns for the last post in this series, but in the end I was compelled to go with one of my favorites of all time, “Be Thou My Vision.”

This hymn is based off an old Irish text, which scholars say could be as old as the 8th Century CE, or as “young” as the 11th Century CE. I think I feel the weight of history behind the song, because it floods my soul with emotion, guided introspection, and hope – all based on the singular claim of the Christian faith, that Lord Jesus is the light by which we walk and the strength by which we overcome.

In the end, it’s the last verse 1 which speaks to me most about the nature of our journey in this life.

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.

The last couplet is what captures my heart. In a culture where Christianity is all about glitz and light-shows and feeling validated in our beliefs, “Be Thou My Vision” crashes down with prophetic love. Our heart is supposed to be with Jesus, and no matter what befalls us he is the vision which continues to guide. The people I admire in the faith are those whose lives took turns which almost lost them in the raging surf of life, but continued to reach out to Jesus anyway. My hope is this prayer will work out into my life in similar fashion, whatever befall.


  1. In our modern English hymnal, anyway. 

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