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Last year, during the Reformation 500 celebrations,
it is possible that “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God” was sung more times, and in more places than ever before. It is important to note that Martin Luther wrote the original words for this hymn for a particular time and a particular place. 500 years later, Rev. Dr. Allen Jorgenson, professor at Martin Luther University College (formerly Waterloo Lutheran Seminary) penned an alternate text to this familiar hymn tune. These words were first sung at the 2017 Reformation Open Door service at Waterloo Lutheran Seminary, and then at the synod announcement of the newly named Martin Luther University College in June 2018.
Allen shares his thoughts on the lyrics – both the original and the alternate.
“Martin Luther’s ‘A Might Fortress’ is a lyrical adaption of Psalm 46. In it, Luther takes the psalm’s metaphor of God as a fortress and illustrates the implications of this for Christians in his time. For the commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the posting of the 95 Theses, said by some to mark the beginning of the Reformation, I wrote new lyrics to the traditional tune of this famous hymn. These lyrics take up Luther’s interest in metaphors for God. Metaphors are poetic pictures that illustrate a truth about God without pretending that the image is exhaustive, or philosophically rigorous. Metaphors are evocative. The three I chose are God as poet, midwife and painter. God as a poet points to God’s creative power. God as midwife points to God’s loving care. God as painter points to God’s inspiring power. This is seen in the phrase ‘God brooks no hesitation.’ The verb brook means to allow, or put up with. The metaphor imagines God as a painter so taken up in the creative energy of the moment, that God cannot stop until this energy has been put on canvas. My hope is that just as Luther inspired me to consider other metaphors for God, my words will inspire you to consider metaphors that speak to your experience of God.”
Here are Allen’s new lyrics to this familiar tune. Please note that they were written for the rhythmic version of the hymn, which can be found in EvLW #503.continue reading
This year, we experience that interesting phenomenon
when Remembrance Day falls on a Sunday. Is this a day we celebrate in our Sunday morning gatherings? Is it a day we tolerate as part of the pastoral ministry to the gathered people? How do we, as God’s children, remember Remembrance Day?
To help worship leaders navigate this day within their own assembly gatherings, the Program Committee for Worship asked Lt(N) Rev. Michael Macintyre, ELCIC pastor, serving as Chaplain, 3rd Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry to prepare Worship Resources for the 100th Anniversary of Remembrance Day,
In addition to this ELCIC resource, over the years, a number of other people have added their voice to this discussion. For those of you who would like to dig deeper into this conversation, I offer these other articles and blogs to help you think, reflect, discuss and pray about the church’s role in remembering Remembrance Day.
In 2009, Liturgy Canada published an entire issue on this topic, including articles by Rev. Paul Bosch, Marilyn Malton, and a variety of personal reflections. This particular Liturgy Canada issue offers a wide range of opinions. Then editor, The Rev. Peter Wall, Dean of Christ’s Church Cathedral (Anglican) for the Diocese of Niagara offers these words: “We are not trying to persuade any to hold to any position nor to take any particular action, save some important critical thinking – asking questions, praying, talking with others.”
Also found on the Liturgy Canada website is a blog posting by Christian Schreiner, on his thoughts regarding Remembrance Day – A German Lutheran reflects on Remembrance Day in Canada
And finally, Music Minister Ginny Chilton Maxwell offers her insights into using “patriotic music” for congregational singing. Although opposed to the singing of patriotic music and hymns in church, she offers reflections about her journey and the people who have influenced her. Her posting is from the website: Sing! The Centre for Congregational Song, a great resource for all things related to congregational song.
I encourage you to add your voice to the conversation, by sharing your comments, or emailing me at email@example.com reading