Why this song?
"Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful.” -Mark 4:18-19
Too often, I am this seed. I get distracted. I forget the promises of God. At times like this, I like to remember the prayer of the man in Mark 9: “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”
Here at Illumine, a phrase you will hear quite often is “See Life Better.” At face value, that may seem a little braggadocious, like we’ve got some secret knowledge that makes your life better.
(We don’t. We’re Illumine, not the Illuminati.)
“Be Thou My Vision” better explains what we mean when we say we can help you “See Life Better.” It’s not anything we are doing. All we do is point you to God and his word. It’s by looking at the world through this lens (letting him “be your vision”) that you can start to see life better.
The verses explain not only the blessings of having God as your vision, but also show how it allows you to avoid the pitfalls mentioned in Mark 4. The worries, desires, and deceitfulness of this world soon fall away when you keep your eyes fixed on God.
Use in Worship
What I love about this hymn is its versatility.
Musically, it can be done in its traditional 3/4 time signature in a variety of styles or settings. Or, if you prefer something a little more rhythmic, you can easily adapt it to 4/4 as they do in the links below (though I don't recommend trying the "whoa"s with a congregation).
Lyrically, you can use some slightly more old-fashioned lyrics (as the lead sheet below does) or some slightly updated lyrics (as the video below does). The ideas stay the same either way.
(The links below are only meant to reflect one way you can use this song. You're certainly not limited only to singing it in 4/4 or using updated lyrics. Mix, match, or create a new arrangement as you see fit.)
I like to use it best either at the beginning or end of a service. At the beginning, it serves as a reminder that God is the focus of our worship. At the end, it is a reminder that the truths and the promises we heard in worship don’t end there; they carry with us throughout the week.