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  • Writer's pictureReach the Isles

Be Thou My Vision

One of Christianity’s most beloved hymns is “Be Thou My Vision.” This great Irish hymn has powerful lyrics set to a beautiful Irish melody. The song evokes a powerful image within an Irish cultural context.

In the heart of County Meath in the Republic of Ireland, a massive hill rises above the scenic landscape. On a clear day, one can see for miles from the top of the Hill of Tara. The lush and picturesque farmlands roll on for miles and miles in all directions. It is here, that the High Kings of Ireland once ruled. It is a place of monumental importance in the history of Ireland. According to legend, it was on the Hill of Tara that Patrick came to address the High King of Ireland. His purpose was to seek the High King’s permission to preach the gospel across Ireland.

Many of the kings and rulers scattered across Ireland would come to the Hill of Tara to pay homage to the High King of Ireland. They would ascend to the king’s hall on top of the hill and there would gather together in recognition of his authority. This is a fitting image for a believer who understands what the Scriptures teach about almighty God.

Psalm 86:9-10 “All nations whom thou hast made shall come and worship before thee, O Lord; and shall glorify thy name. For thou art great, and doest wondrous things: thou art God alone.”

Especially as we sing the beautiful Irish hymn “Be Thou My Vision” we should keep in mind the lines of the song about the “High King of heaven.” This calls to remembrance a powerful image of the High King of Ireland who ruled atop the Hill of Tara. The High King of heaven is the ruler of all the earth! All nations will pay homage to Him.

Psalm 47:7 “For God is the King of all the earth: sing ye praises with understanding.”

Take a moment to meditate on these great lyrics which honour and exalt the High King of heaven!

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, and I thy true son,

Thou in me dwelling, and I with 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.

Translator: Mary E. Byrne

Versifier: Eleanor H. Hull

Josh Pastors at Carrick Baptist Church in the west of Ireland. Josh grew up in a Christian home in Maryland, USA and placed his faith in Jesus Christ at the age of 10. He graduated with a Master of Arts in Cross-Cultural Studies from Maranatha Baptist Seminary in Wisconsin (2013). Josh and his wife Annie and their young son moved to Ireland in January 2016. They now have two more children and they continue to reach out as a family continue to reach out to their community of Carrick-on-Shannon.

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