April/May 2019 - Vol. 103

Mount St. Michel in Normandy, photo by
                          Boris Stroujko
  .A Mighty Fortress is Our God, A Bulwark Never Failing
hymn by Martin Luther

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 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
Not 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 wrote the words and composed the melody to the hymn, A Mighty Fortress Is Our God, sometime between 1527 and 1529. Based on Psalm 46, the hymn is a celebration of the sovereign power of God over all earthly and spiritual forces, and of the sure hope we have in him because of Jesus Christ. After its publication, it gained immense popularity throughout Reformed Europe.

The English translation of the hymn is by Frederick H. Hedge, written in 1853.

photo credit: Mount St. Michel in Normandy, France (c) by Boris Stroujko at bigstock.com
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