Sing along: Be Thou My Vision.

Last night at RENEW we sang five songs all older than (or about as old as) the building in which we gather. The Revival Building was built at the turn of last century, yet most of it burned down in the twenties, rebuilt in 1925. Originally it was the meeting place of the Presbyterian Church in the Singer Hill area of Oregon City. These days we’re grateful for the new owners, a dance studio, that let us gather there each Sunday afternoon.

All this week I’ll highlight a story behind these five songs, and the meaningful lyrics to which we get to sing along. A big thanks to Brian for selecting these songs and leading us so well!


A 6th Century Irish monk, Dallan Forgaill, penned the words to Be Thou My Vision (original title, “Rop tú mo Baile”), as a tribute to St. Patrick’s wholehearted loyalty to God. The hymn was translated from Irish to English in 1905 by Mary E. Byrne. In 1912, Eleanor H. Hull arranged the song into the verse most commonly found in English hymnals today. (The version below was reprised by Ascend the Hill.) The music to accompany the lyrics is an ancient Irish folk tune called Slane.

The folk song got its start centuries earlier, in Ireland around 433 AD, when on the night before Easter, St. Patrick defied a royal decree by lighting candles. St. Patrick (385-461 AD) was a man filled with the Gospel of Grace and zealous to see Jesus reign and rule over the nation of Ireland. As a missionary, he defied an Irish King’s edict that restricted the lighting of candles on Easter Eve. King Logaire of Tara had decreed that no one was allowed light any fires until a pagan spring festival was launched by the lighting of a fire on Slane Hill — the King must be first. Patrick chose to honor God in spite the threat of death. King Logaire was so impressed with Patrick’s brave devotion, he let him continue his missionary work unhindered. This song harkens back to that day, and that man, and is a steady reminder of the one central theme of our lives.


Be Thou My Vision

reprised by Ascend the Hill

Verse 1:
Be Thou my vision O Lord of my heart
Nought be all else to me, save Thou art
Thou my best thought, by day or by night
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light

Verse 2:
Be Thou my wisdom, Thou my true word
I ever with Thee, Thou with me, Lord
Thou my great Father and I Thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one

Verse 3:
Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise
Thou mine inheritance now and always
Thou and Thou only, but first in my heart
High King of heaven, my treasure Thou art

O God be my everything, be my delight
Be Jesus my glory, my soul satisfied (2x)

Verse 4:
High King of heaven, my vict’ry 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
Still be my vision, O Ruler of all

Listen and watch as Jason Waller sings Be Thou My Vision:



2 thoughts on “Sing along: Be Thou My Vision.

  1. Be Thou my vision O Lord of my heart
    Nought be all else to me, save Thou art
    Thou my best thought, by day or by night
    Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light

    I have always loved this first verse….

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