Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart;
naught be all else to me, save that thou art:
thou my best thought both by day and 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 soul's shelter, and thou my high tow'r,
raise thou me heav'nward, O Pow'r of my pow'r.
Riches I heed not, nor vain, empty praise,
thou mine inheritance, now and always:
thou and thou only, the first in my heart,
great God of heaven, my treasure thou art.
Light of my soul, after victory won,
may I reach heaven's joys, O heaven's Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
still be my vision, O Ruler of all.
The words of this hymn may be as old as anything in our hymnal. They come from an Irish poem dating back to the 5th Century. (The music, now an old standard, was joined to it 100 years ago.). "Naught be all else to me, save that thou art" is a cry of devotion that puts everything else in life far behind ("naught!") the recognition of God's existence. The imagery of "shelter" and "tow'r" are moving pictures of God's role in our lives.
In an age when so much contends for our attention and our days fill with frenetic activity, what a life-giving thing it is that we can let all else fade into the background, and live in the all-embracing arms of the God who holds us. Lest you be tempted to think this invites us to only a soft, cozy relationship with God, let's turn--tomorrow--to the world-transforming message of the next two verses.