Tag Archives: hymns

Be Thou My Vision: A Reflection

By Bella Gamboa, Jonathan Edwards ’22. Bella in majoring in Humanities.

Even in times when I feel farthest from God, hymns have had a singular ability to remind me of who He is and of his presence. The value of song has clear Biblical precedent, particularly in the Psalms (which themselves were designed to be sung!). The psalmist frequently presents song as an imperative part of a relationship with God, such as in Psalm 98:4-5: “Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth; break forth into joyous song and sing praises! Sing praises to the Lord with the lyre, with the lyre and the sound of melody!” Praise to God overflows in song, and so singing also reminds us of who we are in Him and how we ought to relate to Him. With all that in mind, what follows is a brief meditation on several verses from one of my favorite hymns, “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 

 

God’s presence at the center of one’s life is essential to the Christian life; He is not to be kept on the periphery, relevant only at certain times or in certain spheres, but He is intended to always be central. He ought to be primary in our sight, what we see and look to above all. And when God occupies His appropriate place in our lives, He, in His overwhelming greatness and perfection, is sufficient for us and our needs. This verse recalls Paul, who said, “I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” (Philippians 3:8). God is incomprehensibly, indescribably superior to anything else.

 

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 

 

As undergraduates, we seem to endlessly pursue knowledge; whether compelled or enthused, we accrue information and skills in various classes, extracurriculars, and conversations with our peers. And knowledge is certainly valuable, but we must be careful to put the quest for it in context — the Bible makes a distinction between different sorts of wisdom or knowledge. In Matthew 11:25, Jesus thanks God that “‘[He has] hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children.’” Here, Jesus refers to the inability of his learned, worldly wise contemporaries, like the Pharisees, to appreciate who He is, while children can grasp it. Yalies certainly occupy a position similar to that of “‘the wise and understanding’” — we know a great deal about coding, or carbon compounds, or Caravaggio. But true, Godly wisdom does not lie in these things, as “Be Thou My Vision” reminds us; indeed, David might call the wise of Matthew fools, for the “fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God’” (Psalm 14:1). God himself is our wisdom. Knowing him provides deeper, truer fulfillment and wisdom than knowing all the material for any course. Furthermore, we have the opportunity for continual companionship with God, as he is our Father, and, through the Holy Spirit, he dwells within us. This continual presence enables God to be our vision and our wisdom, for he is unwaveringly present.

 

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

 

This verse is somewhat intimidating to me — I certainly value and hang onto the praise of my professors and peers, and could hardly say that I treat it as if it is “empty.” But, as with Paul in Philippians, the hymn’s dismissal of earthly standards, of wealth and repute, are not arbitrary or melancholy. These are not inherently bad things, but they are so insignificant because God is so much greater. When He is first in our hearts and central in our sight, we have no need for worldly, and almost inevitably disappointing, means of raising ourselves up. 

He alone is our Father, our Treasure, and our King, and He is eternally deserving of our song — let us join as the “heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork” (Psalm 19:1).

Translations of Swahili Hymns

by Vienna Scott, Benjamin Franklin ’21

For the reader’s edification in meditation and appreciation of Swahili culture and language.

Simama Fanya Vita

1. Simama Fanya vita, askari wa Yesu!

Tuinue bendera ya ushindi wake!

Yeye huyaongoza, majeshi yake huku

Adui wote pia, Bwana awashinda.

2. Sikia baragumu, linalotuita!

Tuendelee mbele, lengo ni kushinda!

Tusiogope kamwe, hatari za vitani,

Pigana na adui, kwa nguvu za Mungu!

3. Simama fanya vita, kwa jina la Yesu!

Yafaa sisi sote, kumtegemea.

Na kwanza tuzivae, silaha zake Mungu!

Tukeshe siku zote, tuombe kwa bidi!

4. Shindano letu hapa, hima litakwisha,

Ndipo tutapumzika, baada ya vita.

Na kila mshindaji, atapokea taji,

Na utukufu mwingi, karibu na Mungu.

 

Stand Up and Fight (Make War)

Stand up and make war, soldiers of Christ

Raise the flag of his victory

He leads his forces here

All the enemies also, the Lord overcomes them

Hear the trumpet, calling us!

Let’s move forward, the goal is to win!

We should not be afraid, dangers of war

Fight the enemy, by the power of God!

Stand up and fight, in the name of Jesus!

It is good for us all to depend on him

And first let’s put on the armor of God

Let us always watch, pray earnestly!

Our contest here, it will end quickly

Then we will rest, after the war/battle

And every winner, he will receive a crown,

And much glory, near God

Ninashikwa na Kiu

1. Ninashikwa na kiu, Bwana, unipe maji,

Maji ya uhai ndani ya Maisha yangu.

:/: Bwana, Bwana, Yesu Mfalme wangu!

2. Moyo wangu wakupenda, Bwana

Mungu wangu. Nitakuja lini kwako,

Bwana Mfalme wangu?

3. Mchana na usiku Bwana nakulilia. Watu

Wanasema: “Mungu wako yuko wapi?”

4. Huzuni moyoni mwangu, Bwana Mungu wangu

Watu wengi wadharau, Mungu ‘wasamehe!

5. Twashikamana pamoja kwenda juu mbinguni.

Twashukuru, twafurahi kushirikiana.

6. Mwokozi, nguvu zaishaje moyoni mwangu?

Unisaidie Bwana, nitakushukuru.

I am thirsty

I am caught with thirst (I thirst), Lord, please give me water

Water of life in my life

Lord, Lord, Jesus my King!

My heart loves you, Lord

My God. when will I come to you

Lord my King?

Afternoon and night Lord I will cry for you. People

say: “ Where is your God?”

Sorrow in my heart, Lord my God

Many people full of hatred, God forgive them!

We cling to each other to go up to heaven

We are thankful, we are happy to cooperate

Savior, why am I running short of strength in my heart

Help me Lord, I will thank you.

 

Ni Siku Tukufu

1. Ni siku tukufu, haleluya, amina,

Ya kupum-zika, haleluya, amina.

Tuache shughuli tumwabudu Mungu,

Bwana wa mbinguni, haleluya amina.

2. Ni siku tukufu, haleluya, amina.

Tukufu kabisa, haleluya, amina.

Njoni ndugu zangu, tumwabudu Mungu,

Kwa roho na kweli, haleluya, amina.

3. Ni siku tukufu, haleluya, amina.

Ya furaha mno, haleluya, amina.

Yesu ‘kafufuka, na sasa yu hai,

Anatuombea, haleluya, amina.

4. Ni siku tukufu, haleluya, amina,

Ndiyo maarufu, haleluya, amina.

Tunaye Mwokozi atuokoaye,

Sasa na milele haleluya, amina.

5. Ni siku tukufu, haleluya, amina,

Siku ya neema, haleluya, amina.

Tangazeni Neno la Bwana Mwokozi,

Msifuni daima, haleluya, amina.

 

It is a glorious day

it is a glorious day, hallelujah, amen

For rest, hallelujah, amen

we stop things to worship God

Lord in heaven, hallelujah amen

it is a glorious day, hallelujah, amen

Absolutely glorious, hallelujah amen

Come my brothers, we worship God

By spirit and truth, hallelujah, amen.

it is a glorious day, hallelujah, amen.

Of great joy, hallelujah, amen.

Jesus, risen and now alive

He is praying for us, hallelujah, amen.

it is a glorious day, hallelujah, amen.

Yes remarkable, hallelujah, amen.

We have a savior who saves us

Now and forever, hallelujah, amen.

it is a glorious day, hallelujah, amen.

Day of grace, hallelujah, amen

Declare the word of the Lord Savior

Praise him always, hallelujah, amen

 

A Reflection: Just a Closer Walk with Thee

By Pedro Enamorado ES Class of ’17

I am weak but Thou art strong
Jesus keep me from all wrong
I’ll be satisfied as long
As I walk, let me walk close to Thee

My heart melts with the beauty of this confession. I, a creature of clay and breath, can lean on the Lord of Glory. It makes me pause. It makes me sigh tenderly in delight. What is it like to stand on an immovable rock while the earth around you trembles? I am small and frail. And while the seas rage and the winds blow, and the world crumbles into itself, I stand unshaken on the Rock. Greater is my Lord’s healing comfort than those of my mother’s arm when I knew that her love would ease my fevers. And as my father’s prayers cast away my terrors in the night, His intercession pours courage into my trembling bones. Great is His strength.

How can we stray from such a Friend? Can we walk so far from the Lover of our souls? Yet, He is not like us. If we walk away, He will follow us and overcome us with His jealous love. And to resist His love is futile. Let us speak! He inclines His ear toward us so let us beg that we may walk near to Him. He will not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Our affections He shall tame, and our restless hearts will find sweet repose in Him. His tender heart is open to us, and a fountain of life springs from His side. Let us cherish His gift! Let us wash in His living water!

Oh, God, keep us far from the ways of the lawless.

The darkness of this world will not overcome me, and its coldness shall not harden my heart- I walk with Him. I treasure the warmth of my Savior’s love and His mercies know no bounds. These are my satisfaction. His Spirit chisels at my broken heart, and without violence or torment, He exposes a heart of flesh underneath.

Let us walk close to Thee, dearest Jesus. May we take your nail-pierced hand and walk with you till the sun goes down on the number of our days. Lead us to our eternal home.