Be Thou My Vision – A Hymn Story

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Be Thou My Vision – A Hymn Story

In 433 A. D., the Irish King, Logaire of Tara, had enacted a decree that no one could light candles on the Eve of Easter because it coincided with the Druid Feast of Bealtine and the Spring Eqinox. It was the tradition of these Pagan festivals to observe the “fireless night”, when all fires in Ireland were to be extinguished. On the Hill of Tara, in the presence of the High King, a massive bonfire was lit and from this all other fires were to be lit. This annual spring ritual was said to transform the High King into a God-King. The bonfire on the Hill of Tara was the symbol to all that this God-King was in command of the seasons, and that spring began at his command.

Legend has it that in clear defiance of this Pagan observance, St. Patrick built a Paschal bonfire on he hill of Slane, a Christian strong point located ten miles away from the Pagan Strong Point on the Hill of Tara. Patrick built his fire before the the king of Tara built his. The fire from the Hill of Slane would have been clearly seen from the Hill of Tara, and was a blatant statement that Christ was the only God-King for the Christian. Patrick chose to honor God in spite of how it would threaten his life and the story goes that King Logaire was so impressed by Patrick’s bravery and devotion to Christ that he left him to continue his missionary work in Ireland.

An 8th Century Monk, Dallan Forgaill, penned the words to Be Thou My Vision as a tribute to St. Patrick and his bravery on the Hill of Slane. This hymn was translated from Irish to English in 1905 by Mary E. Byrne and in 1912, Eleanor H. Hull arranged the song into the verse most commonly found in most English hymnals today. The music that accompanies the lyrics is an ancient Irish folk tune called Slane.

This is my tribute to Patrick and to the God he served so faithfully, my rendition of Be Thou My Vision.

Be Thou My Vision

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.

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,

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p style=”text-align:center;”> Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.

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Take the $5.00 Challenge - Make The Record
Take the $5.00 Challenge – Make The Record

Voices In My Head Podcast #11 with Guest Fred Heumann

Magnify: 105 Modern Worship Devotionals

Fred Heumann is an ordained minister who also has served 7 very different churches as part-time, full-time or volunteer worship leader, and has taught and planned Hispanic worship seminars both in the US and in Latin America.   He’s an internationally-respected worship leader, speaker and teacher with four decades of diverse experience—from the Australian outback to European cathedrals, from leading small group worship to producing major international events in over 50 nations.

Fred has worked alongside the music industry for many years and has been a trusted music consultant for major publishing companies like Worship Together, Integrity Music, Word Music, and Thankyou Music/Kingsway Worship just to name a few.


He helped develop the MORE SONGS FOR PRAISE AND WORSHIP worship planner series, the materials for wordmusicnow.com at Word, and was a content curator for the new LifeWay Hymnal / lifewayworship.com, assisting them in choosing today’s worship songs for the digital online and print hymnals. 

He also played a significant role in introducing the current wave of British worship music in the U. S., bringing the first WorshipTogether conference to the US alongside Kingsway/Thankyou Music in 1997.

Voices In My Head is the official podcast for Christian singer, songwriter, and speaker Rick Lee JamesVoices In My Head is a Podcast dedicated to covering things like comics, movies, books, music and various other things that get stuck in the head of pop culture, but with a Theological lens. Listen to it on Podbean.com, Stitcher, The Rick Lee James Mobile App, iTunes, Reverbnation.com, and Facebook.   Rick Lee James Official Web Site is www.RickLeeJames.com.  To leave a voice message comment  for Voices In My Head call (937) 505-0162.   Get Rick’s music on iTunes and at CDBaby.com.  Email can be sent to RLJames29@yahoo.com. You can also watch Rick Lee James music videos on YouTube.

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