St. Patrick is one of Christian history’s most remarkable figures. I’ve formerly written of only a few of the truly astounding stories of his gospel adventures and braveries in a post two years ago.
For this post I’ll add some background that provides this ancient hymn its inspiration from St. Patrick’s story.
When missionary Patrick braved the highly pagan and paganly dangerous Land of Eire, he understood their cultural and religious obsession with bonfires, so he joined in the festivities at an Eastertide ceremony by presiding himself over the lighting of a ‘paschal’ bonfire in honor of Christ.
No problem, right?
The country’s pagan king, Loigaire, had handed down the edict that NO fires be lit on Easter Eve before he himself lit the grand royal fire later that night to usher in the arrival of spring and celebrate it with major pagan overtones. And anyone who tried to trump the king at his own business would die. Painfully so.
St. Patrick said no pagan ritual would trump his King Jesus’ commemoration, so – on threat of gruesome death – he laid down lumber on the Hill of Shane and torched it to high heavens.
At first King Loigaire was furious, and intent on burning Patrick alive, but he couldn’t deny his bravery in the face of such penalty. There must be something of worth in the lad’s message!
When Patrick was brought in to face the king and explain his audacity, it is said the king was so taken by the young missionary’s passion and eloquence, he permitted the gospel to continue unhindered in his kingdom. Just amazing.
A couple hundred years later, give or take, an old monk penned some very old Gaelic lyrics in honor of Patrick’s heroic faith that have since been translated then metered out for inclusion in a Scottish hymn book long, long ago.
And what you’ll hear is the grand result. This preserved confession has encouraged the Church of the Lord Christ for generations.
Chelsea Moon’s rendition of “Be Thou My Vision” is so elegantly simple and full of heart. I’ve certainly become a fan of her music, grateful for her focus on memorable hymns.
Be sure to download her Hymns projects, Volumes 1 & 2 on iTunes.
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.