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Thursday, October 31, 2019

Favorite Songs - A Mighty Fortress by Martin Luther

(Are there some songs that never get old for you? You can listen to them over and over again, even after you've just listened to them, and you still enjoy them? When they also make you think about interesting and important stuff, you get the kinds of songs I'm talking about in this series of blog posts.)

It's October 31, a special day, and I'm not talking about Halloween. A little over 500 years ago, on this date in 1517, Martin Luther posted his 95 Theses on the door at the church in Wittenberg, Germany, and the great movement that we call the Reformation officially began. So October 31 is Reformation Day, and I want to celebrate it by sharing this wonderful hymn written by Martin Luther himself.

Of course it wasn't sung back then like it is on the video above, but I've always loved this contemporary version by Glad, especially because I could use it to introduce my children to the great lyrics of the song and make them more memorable with the help of the catchy music.

Obviously the lyrics and the historical significance of the author are the main reasons why this is a favorite of mine. They speak for themselves and are especially meaningful when you know something of the context in which they were written.

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,
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.

Here's a more traditional version of the song, if you prefer that...

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