A Mighty Fortress Is Our God (ELW 504)
1 A mighty fortress is our God,
a sword and shield victorious;
he breaks the cruel oppressor’s rod
and wins salvation glorious.
The old evil foe, sworn to work us woe,
with dread craft and might
he arms himself to fight.
On earth he has no equal.
2 No strength of ours can match his might!
We would be lost, rejected.
But now a champion comes to fight,
whom God himself elected.
Ask who this may be: Lord of hosts is he!
Christ Jesus our Lord,
God’s only Son, adored.
He holds the field victorious.
3 Though hordes of devils fill the land
all threat’ning to devour us,
we tremble not, unmoved we stand;
they cannot overpow’r us.
This world’s prince may rage, in fierce war engage.
He is doomed to fail
God’s judgment must prevail!
One little word subdues him.
4 God’s Word forever shall abide,
no thanks to foes, who fear it;
for God himself fights by our side
with weapons of the Spirit.
If they take our house, goods, fame, child, or spouse,
wrench our life away,
they cannot win the day.
The kingdom’s ours forever!
I still remember this familiar hymn being played in a very creative way at an evening worship service full of delegates for a Lutheran convention back in the 80’s. Before the organist started to play, we were told not to sing verse three, but to read it silently while it was played. The organist played the most demonic version of the tune and made it feel like devils really filled the air and then, at the end of the verse, he played one single note. “One little word subdues him.” It was so triumphant it brought me to tears. Chaos can come into our lives in so many different ways that it seems like devils fill the air around us. I am so grateful for a creative God who works beyond our imagination, even so far as to send his Son to express a love so great not even the devil’s strongest weapon, death, can defeat it.
Thank you, Lord, for the many disciples through the generations who have enabled us to know more fully the awe and wonder of you through their gift of music. Amen.