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God Is Our Fortress and Our Rock

Representative Text

1 God is our fortress and our rock,
our mighty help in danger;
he shields us from the battle's shock
and thwarts the devil's anger;
for still the prince of night
prolongs evil's fight;
he uses all skill
to work his wicked will;
no earthly force is like him.

2 Our hope is fixed on Christ alone,
the Man of God's own choosing;
without him nothing can be won
and fighting must be losing;
so let the powers accursed
come try do their worst;
Christ Jesus shall ride
to battle at our side,
and he shall have the victory.

3 The word of God will not be slow
while demon hordes surround us,
though evil strike its cruelest blow
and death and hell confound us:
for though we meet distress,
lose all we possess;
those planning our ill
may ravage, wreck, or kill;
God's kingdom is immortal!

Author: Martin Luther

Luther, Martin, born at Eisleben, Nov. 10, 1483; entered the University of Erfurt, 1501 (B.A. 1502, M.A.. 1503); became an Augustinian monk, 1505; ordained priest, 1507; appointed Professor at the University of Wittenberg, 1508, and in 1512 D.D.; published his 95 Theses, 1517; and burnt the Papal Bull which had condemned them, 1520; attended the Diet of Worms, 1521; translated the Bible into German, 1521-34; and died at Eisleben, Feb. 18, 1546. The details of his life and of his work as a reformer are accessible to English readers in a great variety of forms. Luther had a huge influence on German hymnody. i. Hymn Books. 1. Ellich cristlich lider Lobgesang un Psalm. Wittenberg, 1524. [Hamburg Library.] This contains 8 German h… Go to person page >

Translator: Michael A. Perry

Initially studying mathematics and physics at Dulwich College, Michael A. Perry (b. Beckenham, Kent, England, 1942; d. England, 1996) was headed for a career in the sciences. However, after one year of study in physics at the University of London, he transferred to Oak Hill College to study theology. He also studied at Ridley Hall, Cambridge, and received a M.Phil. from the University of Southhampton in 1973. Ordained a priest in the Church of England in 1966, Perry served the parish of St. Helen's in Liverpool as a youth worker and evangelist. From 1972 to 1981 he was the vicar of Bitterne in Southhampton and from 1981 to 1989, rector of Eversley in Hampshire and chaplain at the Police Staff College. He then became vicar of Tonbridge in Ke… Go to person page >

Notes

Scripture References: all st. = Ps. 46 Martin Luther (PHH 336) wrote both the tune and the original German text ("Ein' feste Burg ist unser Gott"), which was inspired by Psalm 46. The chorale is known to have been published in the 1529 edition of Joseph Klug's (PHH 126) Geistliche Lieder although no copy is extant. It also appeared in both High and Low German versions in various Lutheran hymnals. Just as Genevan Psalm 68 has had great significance for many Calvinists, this hymn, which became "the battle hymn" of the Reformation, has been immensely important to Lutherans and other Protestants. With the help of Annamarie von Rad, Michael A. Perry (PHH 299) translated the four-stanza German text into three stanzas at Eversley, Hampshire, England, in 1981. His translation was published in the British Hymns for Today’s Church (1982). Perry captures well the strong battle images that Luther's text magnified from Psalm 46: as we fight against the powers of hell, our hope is fixed on Christ whose "kingdom is immortal!" (A different translation is at 469.) Liturgical Use: Many occasions of worship throughout the church year, but especially Reformation Sunday, Old/New Year services, and times when the church faces persecution or spiritual battles. --Psalter Hymnal Handbook

Tune

EIN FESTE BURG

The original rhythms of EIN FESTE BURG (see 469) had already reached their familiar isorhythmic (all equal rhythms) shape by the time of Johann S. Bach (PHH 7) in the eighteenth century. The harmonization is taken from his Cantata 80. Many organ and choral works are based on this chorale, including…

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Timeline

Instances

Instances (1 - 8 of 8)

Church Hymnal, Fifth Edition #668

Page Scan

Common Praise (1998) #526

Hymns for Today's Church (2nd ed.) #523

Text InfoTune InfoTextScoreAudioPage Scan

Psalter Hymnal (Gray) #468

Sing Glory #637

The Covenant Hymnal #797

Page Scan

Worship (3rd ed.) #575

Page Scan

Worship (3rd ed.) #576

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