Old Hymns

singing silly unsplashed

If I wasn’t born with a love of old hymns, then my parents instilled that love in me at an early age. I can still hear my mom singing as she washed dishes in our home in Florida long ago. During my years as a student at St. Mark’s Lutheran school, I was required to memorize multiple verses of old hymns. They still pop into my mind, often just when I need a reminder of the deep and encouraging truths they convey.

My brother Brad, now a worship leader in Connecticut, generously shared the transcript of his most recent hymn sing with me. He gets credit for the next three blogs you’ll read—terrific lyrics combined with a little bit of history. You can find Brad, and even ask him for help with worship services, at worshiporchestra.com. I hope you’ll enjoy this departure into age-old wisdom conveyed in verse. May you be left with a song in your heart!

Be Thou My Vision                   

Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart; Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art. Thou my best Thought, by day or 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 great Father, I Thy true son; Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.

Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise, Thou mine Inheritance, now and always: Thou and Thou only, first in my heart, High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art.

An Irish monk named Dallan Forgaill wrote Be Thou My Vision, which was later translated into English by Mary Elizabeth Byrne. May God be our vision and focus as well!

You can listen here.

All Creatures of Our God and King

All creatures of our God and King Lift up your voice and with us sing, Alleluia! Alleluia! Thou burning sun with golden beam, Thou silver moon with softer gleam!

O praise Him! O praise Him! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

And all ye men of tender heart, Forgiving others, take your part, O sing ye! Alleluia! Ye who long pain and sorrow bear, Praise God and on Him cast your care!

O praise Him! O praise Him! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

Let all things their Creator bless, And worship Him in humbleness, O praise Him! Alleluia! Praise, praise the Father, praise the Son, And praise the Spirit, Three in One!

O praise Him! O praise Him! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

Francis of Assisi was born into a wealthy family. He gave up his riches, though, and founded the Franciscan Order of Friars. You’ve probably seen a statue of him surrounded by birds and small animals. When he wrote All Creatures of Our God and King, I expect he may have been thinking of Revelation 13:5, which says, “Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying: ‘To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!’”

You can check out the Newsboys’ version here.

Stay tuned next week for more classic hymns.

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