Preparing for Worship – August 30 – Darren DeMent, associate pastor.
This Sunday morning in worship, we are singing one of my favorite hymns, “Be Thou My Vision.” Now I realize that saying “Be Thou My Vision” is one of my favorite hymns is akin to saying “I like pizza” or “hamburgers are good.” It’s not exactly an out-there opinion, and I’m sure if I asked any number of people to make a list of their favorite hymns, there’s a good chance “Be Thou My Vision” would appear on a lot of them. But the hymn’s popularity and general appeal do not take away from its beauty and depth.
There are two appeals made in the hymn that have always struck me as particularly necessary. The first is the appeal for God to be our vision. In this request is the acknowledgment that our own vision is somehow corrupted or distorted. There is an admission of our tendency to only see things from our own perspective, and a confession that we are often blind to the reality of those who have a different experience of life. There is an expressed desire to see the world around us as God sees it, and a request for God’s help in making it so. Be thou my vision, because it needs the correction only God can provide.
The second appeal is for God to be our wisdom. In this request is the acceptance that our own understanding is limited. There is a humility expressed by conceding that we do not have all the answers, and an awareness that God’s ways are indeed higher than our own. There is a call for God to take our own limited ways of comprehension and expand our hearts and minds so that we can begin to perceive and process the world as God does. Be thou my wisdom, because mine is much too finite to be able to love as God loves.
It is worth noting that neither of these appeals are presented as mere wishes or hopes that God will do all the work for us. There is the realization that it is only by seeking God out and by placing God first in our hearts that these things will be possible. May this be our posture as we sing this hymn today.(I’m also just a sucker for Irish folk music, so this hymn really does have it all.)