By Grant Norsworthy
My favorite hymn is “Be Thou My Vision”. It’s actually a prayer. I pray this hymn often, but usually, I don’t sing the traditional fourth verse:
High King of heaven, my victory won,
may I reach heaven’s joys, O bright heaven’s sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
still be my vision, O Ruler of all
It’s not that I don’t like that verse. I do like it. It’s poetic, powerful and worth singing. But we have a lot of final verses of hymns that sing about eternity – how everything’s going to be great when we finally “get to heaven” or when Jesus comes again. That’s a good thought. I get it.
But I don’t want to be lulled into a false sense that I just need to wait around for the Second Coming or for God to “call me home” to heaven (a euphemism for dying in case you missed it). I need to sing (and pray) something that reminds me that I have a role to play in God’s Kingdom Come on earth right here right now. That’s why my wife Brooke and I wrote an alternative verse four:
Be my compassion, My love for the poor;
Break my distraction, So I can’t ignore;
The least of your children, The ones you adore;
For by them, Jesus, I worship you Lord.
It’s a Matthew 25:31-46 – The story of the sheep and the goats – reference. Please read the passage. Maybe you’ll see why I think this is a necessary reminder for us all, before we get too focused on eternity.
I made a video for my version of this beautiful old hymn. It may not be your favorite rendition of the song, but it’s the only one I know that features this least-known verse. Watch my lyric video for “Be Thou My Vision” here. I hope it’s meaningful to you.