Defend Thy truth, O God The ENTRANCE HYMN, “O Lord, Look Down from Heaven, Behold” (TLH 260) is Martin Luther’s (1483-1546) hymn on Psalm 12. Written in 1523, it is one of his earliest. In daily prayer in the monastery, Luther learned the psalms by heart, so they served as the basis for a number of his hymns. Luther also wrote hymns on Psalms 14, 46, 67, 128, and 130.
Though many things have changed since Luther’s time, this hymn is just as timely today as when it was written. Christians and the Church face relentless attacks from the devil and the world. “For them My saving Word shall fight.” In all times, Christ is our only hope: “The wicked everywhere abound, And would Thy little flock confound; But Thou art our Salvation.”
Lord, Keep Us Steadfast The HYMN TO DEPART (655) is also by Luther. It was written for a special Wittenberg service of prayer against the Turkish threat. The description was “A Children’s Hymn, to be sung against the two Archenemies of Christ and his Holy Church, the Pope and the Turk.” The original version read: “Lord, keep us in Thy Word and work, Restrain the murderous Pope and Turk.” Again Luther’s hymn remains applicable to our own situation, as the Pope today proclaims false doctrines, albeit different from Luther’s day; and the threat of radical Islamic terror looms over Christian society. “Defend Your holy Church that we, May sing Your praise eternally.”
The introduction is by Kevin Hildebrand, kantor at Concordia Theological Seminary—Fort Wayne.
I Trust When Dark My Road The HYMN OF THE DAY, “In God, My Faithful God” (745) proclaims the reality of suffering in the Christian life. The Christian knows that life will not go smoothly all the time. At times, it might even seem unbearable. Rather than despair when challenges, difficulties, and temptations arise, we know that Our Lord is with us in every trial and that He has conquered death and hell: “I build on Christ, who loves me; from this rock nothing moves me.”