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The Kingdom’s Ours Forever

July 5, 2014

I’ve preached and presided at nine worship services over the past eleven days here in Lutherstadt Wittenberg. I feel blessed to be gifted with this opportunity.

At each of these services the final hymn has, of course, been Luther’s “Ein feste Burg,” sung in English as “A Mighty Fortress is Our God.” A few thoughts…

There is something truly beautiful about singing this hymn, these words, with an impromptu congregation, day after day. I met many people, with many a pastor among them, who were effusively thankful for the chance to sing this hymn in the home of the Lutheran Reformation. I think of one Lutheran pastor and his wife, retired and overseas for the first time, celebrating their sixtieth wedding anniversary. It was the highlight of the trip of a lifetime for them, and their thanks for the opportunity was truly touching.

Also, when you sing a song over and over again, it really sinks in. One day, Anders was (surprise) having a tough time keeping calm during the devotional worship service. So I held hymn as we sang. Nothing drives home that last stanza like a kid in your arms: “Were they to take our house / Goods, honor, child or spouse / Though life be wrenched away / They cannot win the day / The kingdom’s ours forever.” I cannot imagine losing any of those things, least of all one of my beloved children. But as Luther’s hymn reminds us we all belong to Christ and his kingdom, and we will all therefore be found and be brought back together, safe for forever, no matter what happens in the meantime.

A mighty fortress, indeed.

From → Sabbatical 2014

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