Sunday, February 21, 2010

A Multitude of Mighty Fortresses: Lent 1

The First Sunday in Lent focuses on the Temptation of our Lord. After a 40 day fast in the wilderness, Satan wants his way with the Messiah, and tempts him three times. Since Jesus is God and born without sin, he is able to withstand this temptation.

The Hymn of the Day for Lent I is "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God." For years I asked myself, "Why?" Last year, my parish was in vacancy. I suggested to our vacancy pastor that we sing the appointed Hymn of the Day. He felt it was an unusual choice as well.

Here's the deal... Instead of viewing this hymn as the "Battle Hymn of the Reformation" it is good to think of this hymn as the "Battle Hymn against Satan." No matter how hard he and his legion of demons try, they cannot overpower the Christ and His Church!

Here is a wonderful arrangement, sung in German. The congregation sings an isorythmic version on stanzas 1 and 4, while the choir gets a rhythmic version on stanzas 2 and 3. Unlike the English versions, these German settings are in the same meter.

Ein Feste Burg Ist Unser Gott

For more on this series on A Mighty Fortress, click the "Fortress" label.


  1. Great video, Iggy. Interesting to see the combination of the two versions going on in Germany as well as in the US.

    This year, the LCMS 3-year lectionary had Deuteronomy 26 (Instructions for worship upon delivery from the wilderness into the promised land) as the Old Testament reading. Because Pastor preached on that text, we sang AMF as the Entrance Hymn at DS and as the Office Hymn at Matins, so that our sermon hymn would be more closely tied to the sermon text.

    Our sermon hymn yesterday? Lift Every Voice and Sing! Congregation did a great job on it - even though most had never sung it before. (We don't have many NAACP folks at Bethany.)

    I must say it was a great fit. I know the committee put Lift Every Voice in the hymnal for use at services focused on more temporal occasions (MLK Day, Thanksgiving, 4th of July), but I think 1 Lent C is where it finds its better use - especially when paired with AMF in the same liturgy.

    Thanks be to God He makes us a chosen nation, and brings us even now into the Promised Land.

  2. Phil, thanks for stopping by! :) Always good to have more voices chiming in.

    "Lift Every Voice" is a great song for Lent I and the early Sundays in Lent! These Sundays are less about the Passion and more about our struggle in this world. I am sure Bethany did this one well! Is your service archived on-line? I would like to hear the sermon as well.

    Others from this tradition that work for early Lent and made it into LSB include "Lead Me, Guide Me," which will be featured tomorrow, and "Precious Lord, Take My Hand," which will be featured later in the month.


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