Hymns of Hope and Comfort: A Mighty Fortress Is Our God

Hymns of Hope and Comfort: A Mighty Fortress Is Our God March 21, 2020

During this time of fear and uncertainty in the COVID-19 wilderness, I’ve decided to do something a little different. I’m going to be daily using my blog to share texts and videos of hymns that pass along hope and comfort. I hope you find them to be encouraging and edifying during this time.

Take care, everyone. Wash your hands. And keep the faith.

Today’s hymn is the most famous to come out of the Protestant Reformation. The first recording is from the National Day of Mourning service on September 14, 2001 at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., and this is the isorhythmnic version most of you non-Lutherans are familiar with. If you’re all sophisticated and into the fancy rhythmic version, there are some Lutheran kids from the Higher Things conferences singing it in the second video.

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
does 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.
You 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 has 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!

-Martin Luther, 1529, trans. Frederick H. Hedge, 1852


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