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Music for Invocabit-First Sunday in Lent

He’s by our side upon the plain, With His good gifts and Spirit   The HYMN OF THE DAY, “A Mighty Fortress is Our God” (656) is Martin Luther’s (1483-1546) hymn on Psalm 46.  This beloved hymn of many has been translated into more languages than any other and is sung by Christians throughout the world.

It is a fitting hymn for today’s Gospel.  Our Lord endured temptation for us to defeat our great enemy Satan.  He is the Valiant One, the Lord of Sabaoth (Hebrew: “angel armies”), our Word, who fights for us on the plain of the battlefield of sin, death, and temptation of this earthly life.

Our Lord Jesus Christ defeats the devil with His Word, and sends His Spirit in His gifts of Preaching and the Sacraments.  Although all else be taken from us, He sustains us and wins the victory.

It was likely written for the Diet of Speyer on April 20, 1529, when the German princes made their formal protest against the removal of their liberties.  With this hymn Luther protested against any endeavor to obstruct the Gospel.  Luther, a fine musician, also wrote the tune.

Lamb of God, once slain for sinners, Host, who spreads this meal divine.   The DISTRIBUTION HYMN, “In the Shattered Bliss of Eden” (572) is by Stephen Starke, who serves as pastor at St. John—Bay City, Michigan.  The hymn was written for the fiftieth anniversary of St. Luke—Clinton Township, MI, in 2002.  The tune is by C. Hubert H. Parry (1848-1918) and is named Rustington, the town in Sussex in which Parry lived.

“Starke’s text is rife with biblical imagery and allusion throughout.  Drawing equally from the Old and New Testaments, the author blends promise with fulfillment.  Adam and Eve’s eviction from the Garden, the Passover in Egypt, and priestly sacrifices throughout the Old Testament all point to the shedding of Jesus’ blood on the cross, which is commemorated in the Lord’s Supper and which will be celebrated in the feast to come in heaven” (Lutheran Service Book: Companion to the Hymns).

The lessons are Genesis 3.1-21; 1 Corinthians 6.1-10; and St. Matthew 4.1-11.
The hymns are: 663 Rise, My Soul, to Watch and Pray
656 A Mighty Fortress is Our God
421 Jesus, Grant that Balm and Healing
572 In the Shattered Bliss of Eden
714 Who Trusts in God, A Strong Abode
562 All Mankind Fell in Adam’s Fall
Prelude: A Mighty Fortress is Our God -Dietrich Buxtehude
Voluntary: Jesus, I Will Ponder Now -Donald Busarow

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