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Wednesday, July 26, 2017

414: "A MIGHTY FORTRESS IS OUR GOD"


In the LDS Hymn Book, the first listed hymn in alphabetical order is "A Mighty Fortress is our God". This hymn was written and composed by Martin Luther.   Luther wrote the words  sometime between 1527 and 1529 as a paraphrase of Psalm 46, though stanza four comes directly from Luther’s own persecution experience.

This hymn is often referred to as “the battle hymn” of the Reformation.    It has had a part in countless celebrations commemorating the men and events of the Reformation.  It was sung by poor Protestants on their way to exile, and by martyrs at their death. The very first line is engraved on the base of Luther’s monument at Wittenberg, Germany.

There are four verses to the song, but the LDS Hymn book only contains the first verse. 
Furthermore, the words we now sing in our Sacrament Meeting have been altered from the original lyrics that Martin Luther wrote.

Here are the lyrics to the song as they appear in the LDS Hymnbook:
A mighty fortress is our God, A tower of strength ne'er failing.A helper mighty is our God, O'er ills of life prevailing.He overcometh all. He saveth from the Fall.His might and pow'r are great. He all things did create.And he shall reign for evermore.

Here are the original lyrics translated into English: 

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 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 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 goods and kindred go, This mortal life also; The body they may kill: God’s truth abideth still, His Kingdom is forever.

Sidenote:
Below are a few "man-made" fortresses that I photographed during an extended backpacking trip with my oldest daughter this past month. While impressive and magnificent, none of the works of men can compare to the mighty fortress that our Lord can provide. Unfortunately, we all to often rely on the physical fortresses we build instead depending on the Lord as our defense. 

Belvedere Castle in Central Park ,New York City, NY
Photo taken on July 3, 2017
Montserrat Monastery near Barcelona, Spain
Photo taken on July 6th, 2017
Charles Bridge and Old City in Prague, Czech Republic
Photo taken on July 16th, 2017

The Prague Castle above the Vitava River in Prague, Czech Republic
Photo taken on July 17, 2017.
Park Guell in Barcelona, Spain
Photo taken on July 7, 2017

View of the Duomo from the Uffizi Museum in Florence, Italy
Photo taken on July 11, 2017
Notre Dame in Paris, France
Photo taken on July 18. 2017

Vatican and St. Peter's Cathedral in Rome, Italy
Photo taken on July 9, 2017
Venice,Italy
Photo taken on July 12, 2017

Triumphant Arch in front of the Louvre Museum in Paris, France
Photo taken on July 18, 2017
Bavarian Castle outside of Munich,Germany
Photo taken on July 14th, 2017 
The Salt River along side the city of Salzburg, Austria
Photo taken on July July 13th, 2017
Small village along the Swiss Alps
Photo taken on July 14th, 2017

Munich, Germany
Photo taken on July 14th, 2017

Empire State Building, New York City, NY
Photo taken from The Top of the Rock on July 3, 2017

Neuschwanstein Castle in Schwangau. Germany
Photo taken on July 15, 2017