Tuesday 31 October 2017

A Mighty Fortress is Our God

The below is the English translation of a hymn attributed to Martin Luther. Apparently, Luther wrote the words and composed the music for it between 1527 and 1529, some ten years or more after the event which is being remembered today – the 500th anniversary of Luther nailing his 95 theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, kickstarting the Reformation.

I have fond memories of bashing out this tune on a piano and singing the hymn at full pelt in the front room of a man – himself akin to Luther in so many ways – who graciously nurtured me in my years as a young Christian. Though you’ll never read the blog, this is for you, Jack!

A mighty Fortress is our God,
A Bulwark never failing;
Our Helper He amid the flood
Of mortal ills prevailing:
For still our ancient foe
Doth seek to work us woe;
His craft and power are great,
And, armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal.

Did we in our own strength confide,
Our striving would be losing;
Were not the right Man on our side,
The Man of God’s own choosing:
Dost ask who that may be?
Christ Jesus, it is He;
Lord Sabaoth His Name,
From age to age the same,
And He must win the battle.

And though this world, with devils filled,
Should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed
His truth to triumph through us:
The Prince of Darkness grim,
We tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure,
For lo! his doom is sure,
One little word shall fell him.

That word above all earthly powers,
No thanks to them, abideth;
The Spirit and the gifts are ours
Through Him who with us sideth:
Let goods and kindred go,
This mortal life also;
The body they may kill:
God’s truth abideth still,
His Kingdom is forever.

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