Hymn for Lent (Day 2): A mighty fortress is our God

As promised, here is today’s hymn. Look for a new one each day here on 7WD. Today’s hymn is chosen because this is the commemoration of Martin Luther. What kind of Luther College grad would I be if I didn’t pick this one? Bonus — there are videos below the fold.

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 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 Sabbaoth, 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 good and kindred go,
this mortal life also;
the body they may kill:
God’s truth abideth still,
his kingdom is forever.

Words: Martin Luther, 1529
Trans. Frederick Henry Hodge, 1852

A Berlin congregation is led by a fine organist in singing this.

See also: The rhythmic version, apparently sung by a congregation of Lutheran men. Of course, who could forget Davey and Goliath?

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3 Responses

  1. Bob Chapman says:

    The video from Berlin had me in tears. Thanks.

    What type of Luther College alumni are you? I’ll sum it all up in the words of late Stephen Long–who was an organist in a Lutheran Church and musician in Massachusetts for about 17 years (before he and his partner moved to Seattle in the 1990s).

    “The Episcopal Church is the only place one can really be a Lutheran.”

    Steve told me this after I explained my frustrations resulting from when I was an organist in a small Lutheran Congregation for a year. I refer to that year in my life as my time in Babylonian Captivity. Usually the only people that fully get “Babylonian Captivity” are Lutheran Pastors (who smile politely at me but are clearly thinking other things).

    Steven Long headed efforts to restore this organ: http://organweb.com/specs/mech-hall.html

    PS. I prefer the rhythmic version. Then again, I’ve sung Hymn 262 from the Lutheran Hymnal (old hymnal of the LCMS) at Festival of the Reformation Services.

  2. Scott Gunn says:

    Bob, I’m a grad of this place:
    http://www.luther.edu/

    Was that the question?

    I’m with you on the rhythmic version. In general, Episcopalians could learn a thing or two about hymn-singing from Lutherans.

    Peace,
    Scott

  3. Phil Snyder says:

    I love this song! I can see tankards of beer swinging back and forth to the music with a good swig of beer between each stanza

    A might fortress is our God (drink)
    A bulwark never failing (drink)
    etc.

    YBIC,
    Phil Snyder