Be Thou My Vision (ELW 793)
1 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.
2 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.
3 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.
4 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 distinction between the “Godhead” and “God” likely informs our medieval hymn-writer’s theological envisioning as it did Martin Luther’s eight centuries later. The Godhead is the mysterious and frightening divine reality of awesome energy and incomprehensible power that is the “Pow’r of my pow’r.” God, on the other hand, is the loving and welcoming reality—revealed to us through the story of Israel, Jesus, and the church—who is the “Heart of my own heart.” In envisioning the divine we need to respect both themes. If we lose mysteriousness, we forget that the divine always stands beyond us, not fully capturable by our thoughts, no matter how elegant and edifying. If we lose love, we forget that the divine always desires to be near us in love, the primary attribute of God’s very essence and nature, embracing us with a compassionate heart that refuses to let us go.
O God, Heavenly Father and Earthly Mother, as the Power of our power and Heart of our own hearts, may our envisioning of you move our heads, hearts, and hands. Draw us into your divine dance so that we are empowered by your divine Life, enlightened by your divine Light, and embraced by your divine Love. Amen.