Today is Martin Luther’s birthday, the day after mine. That’s why I’ve always felt a deep kinship with him. I love the passionate way Martin Luther talks about God’s grace. Luther’s most famous hymn “A Mighty Fortress is Our God” is such a good example of his unwavering faith in Christ Jesus. The hymn is a paraphrase of Psalm 46. The hymn is widely and ecumenically used which brings me much joy.
A mighty fortress is our God,
a bulwark never failing;
our helper he amid the flood
of mortal ills prevaling.
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.
The hymn captures so well the boldness of Psalm 46. Even when the whole world (or our own world) is falling down we do not fear. Not because we’d be so strong but because our God is a mighty fortress never failing. We can base our trust and our whole lives on the promises of God and know that God will not let us down.
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.
God is God and he is never-changing. When Christ Jesus is on our side there is nothing to fear. When the Holy Spirit dwells in us we are in the safest place, our future is secure. No catastrophe threatens God’s plan for us and for the world. We are safe in his loving care.
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.
We don’t need to be afraid of anything that might happen to us in this world. And we don’t need to be afraid of the powers of darkness, either. Christ Jesus has conquered death and darkness. When we are His, we have eternal hope, extravagant love, and secured future no matter of what is going on.
That word above all earthly powers,
no thanks to them, abideth;
the Spirit and the gifts are ours,
thru 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.
We are mortal. Our physical body will eventually die. But this life is not all there is. God has been, is and will be up and working on our behalf. No matter how much people despise us and/or our childlike faith, God’s not going to disappear. God’s truth will prevail forever. God’s kingdom will last forever. God’s children will live forever and ever.
Here’s a little different arrangement for the hymn by Chris Rise. Much softer yet so powerful. God is our mighty fortress! Hallelujah!
Oh, we adore you!
We are so small and insignificant,
you are so mighty and powerful,
yet you love us and care for us.
Oh, we love you!
Keep on working in us,
make us more like you.
Hold on to us and
never let go.
Oh, we praise you!
Kindle your passion within us,
so we could boldly share your love
with the world around us.
In Jesus’ name,
Q4U: Did you like the new version of the hymn? Why/Why not? Do you have any special memories of the hymn?
Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you boldly continue your journey of faith!
Image of one of only very few early printings of Luther’s hymn: “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.”, courtesy of Paul T. McCain via WikiMedia. Linking up today with It’s Not About Me November, Thought-Provoking Thursdays &
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