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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Tuesday, May 12, 2020  

Today’s Hymn

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 Vision” (v. 1), translation by Mary E. Byrne
Hymn 450, Glory to God: The Presbyterian Hymnal

I believe that when my focus, my vision, is on God, my path is straighter. Not in a “keep your eye on the prize” method of self-empowerment, but more like a baby duck who paddles for all they’re worth but can only see the mama duck. This hymn reminds me that I should keep my head up, keep calm on the surface, focus forward on God, and paddle my duckie feet as fast as I am able. We were not created to see the future. Jesus said to the disciples, “I have many things to say [or show] to you, but you cannot bear them now.”

Weeks ago, my co-teacher and I were preparing music for a concert with our high school students, some of whom are seniors—a concert that we realize now will never happen, with singers whom we will never conduct again. We cannot see the future. But if our focus is on the pain of unfulfilled expectation, we lose the forward direction. I’m like the duckling who ends up going in circles and exhausting itself in a vast sea that it cannot possibly navigate.

As you read this hymn text, see if you can hear the melody. It begins and ends on the tonic, the starting note of the musical scale. (Think ‘Do’ of ‘Do, Re, Mi’ in The Sound of Music.) As you sing it in your head, you will experience that the melody (our journey) has dips (despair) and peaks (nearness to God) before returning to the tonic—the surface. May our journey begin and end with God—our eyes on God throughout.

Dear God, help me remember that I am created to need you. I cannot navigate these choppy waters with my baby duck feet if I don’t connect my heart-vision with you. Amen.

Written by Katy Sinclair, Associate Director of Music for Children and Youth

Reflection and Prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church

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