Many Episcopal organists, myself included, cannot resist a nod or two toward “Reformation Day” when Sunday falls on October 31. Lutherans celebrate this day when, in 1517, Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the church door at Wittenberg.
Did you know? Not many people are familiar with all 95 Theses. For instance, did you know that Thesis 47 is actually about the superiority of mechanical-action organs? Luther preferred them to electric-action.
Maybe I’m more inclined than some to do this; I served as organist for a Lutheran congregation for two years in graduate school.
But truth is there’s never a bad time for Episcopalians all to express some appreciation to Luther and the hymn tradition that sprung up with the Reformation. Our Hymnal 1982 is indded indebted to this hymn tradition.
Hymn 688: “A mighty fortress is our God” is sometimes dubbed “The Battle Hymn of the Reformation,” but it turns out that’s not really how Luther thought of it at all.
Read: Hymn of the Week: October 31 - Hymn 687/688: “A mighty fortress is our God” on the Diocese of Missouri website.
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