My first encounter with a “heads up display” happened in an airplane simulator. A friend and I used to go ”fly” navy jets for fun. In order to win the aerial battle, you had to master the heads up display. And so I have been watching with some fascination at all the new displays that are being placed into the windshields of automobiles.
I assume the idea is to make important information readily available, right at eye level for the driver. It puts that information in a very specific context, the context of our driving. As we look out the window, all that helpful information will be in our line of sight. We won’t be able to miss the important input.
I am thinking that we also need a spiritual “heads up display” and I think I found it in an old hymn.
This last weekend, while I was singing the Irish hymn, “Be Thou My Vision” I couldn’t help but think that the old monk, Dallan Forgaill was ahead of his time. This song dates from at least the 8th century. It honors the work of the Irish missionary we know as St. Patrick.
In part, the words say:
“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.”
The writer is advocating that our vision of Christ should be center stage in our spiritual heads up display. As we encounter life with all its tangles and weaves, we are called to “see it,” experience it, and embrace it because of the “overlay” of the cross of Christ.
As Christians, His death, His resurrection and His life are the “backdrops” for everything we do and say.
Our lives this week can be different…maybe not the circumstances themselves, but the way we engage things can be different. They can be different because our vision of Him has overlaid itself on all the other details of life.
“Be thou my breastplate, my sword for the fight. Be thou my whole armor, be thou my true might. Be thou my soul’s shelter, be thou my strong tower. O raise thou me heavenward, great Power of my power.”