Reformation Lutheran Church A Congregation of the ELCA

Saturday, March 7

Richard McDiffett

A Mighty Fortress Is Our God

A mighty fortress is our God, a sword and shield victorious;


”A Mighty Fortress is our God” has always sent chills down my spine when I hear it sang in church especially when accompanied by an organ. This is but one example of many hymns written by Martin Luther (1483-1546).


What might be ironic about me writing on this particular hymn is that I have very little musical ability in my bones. I do not read music and I'm fairly tone deaf, but I do enjoy listening to certain types of music . Martin Luther wrote about what he knew and what he saw in his time, hence in the first verse he talks about the sword and the shield God uses to protect us. I believe simply because of his many encounters or perceived encounters with the devil that he was a very spiritual man.


Martin Luther, because of his personal struggles with his feelings that he fell short with his father and his other complex personal struggles, felt that he was in a continuous battle with evil or the devil . “A Mighty Fortress” brings out the many ways that we are tempted and now impossible it is to stand against the evil in the world on our personal selves. The hymn continues to assure us that hope is not lost. Rather that God is on our side and Jesus Christ our Savior is beside us. He will see us safe. Even in death we will win.


Martin Luther not only wrote hymns, but he also converted the Bible from ancient languages into something the common folks could read. Because of his unsettling relationship with the Pope, he was under a lot of pressure to bring the light message of the Bible to all humanity. Luther was convinced that the Roman Catholic Church of the day was corrupt and was duping the citizens to pay for the misdeeds of the popes. In his own rough human coarse beer drinking way, he stood strong in his beliefs against the oppression of the church of that day. At the Diet of Worms in Germany, Luther was commanded to recant his writings against the church and responded with “Here I stand; I can do no other.” This icon of history was a catalyst for Protestantism has set an example for the human condition down through time.


God in Heaven, give us strength to weather the storms of the everyday disillusions, the confusion of the facts that are presented to us and guide us to make positive decisions about life. We thank you the life and abilities of Martin Luther and we ask for strength to live a life worthy of being truly Christ like. Amen!


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