A mighty fortress: comfort multiplied

Thank you for the most salubrious article on Luther’s hymn, “Ein feste Burg,” by Dr. Albert Collver. I view the church as a MASH unit, so I especially relish that particular hymn as care to those whose fortresses have fallen. When your job is gone, when your home is gone, when all things that you so depended upon are gone, where is your fortress and tower? The Church’s foundation is Jesus, and the gates of hell will not prevail. On Him we stand because He stands for and with us.

Many years ago, on a beautiful May day, as I raced 50 miles from my office to the sheriff’s department in an adjacent county to comfort a family reeling from the suicide of a child, I turned on my radio. I had listened to my radio before while driving the many miles of my High Plains parish. That day, at that time, on the radio, the otherwise secular drivel was replaced with Bach’s rendition of “Ein feste Burg.” I do not remember the drive, but I do remember the True Fortress, surer than any Bourtange star fort or Maginot Line, and absolutely unmovable under all attacks. God, indeed, is our Refuge and our Strength, a very Help in all trouble. Ein feste Burg indeed! Thanks be to God.

Dr. Scott Lemmermann, Pastor
Ascension Lutheran Church
Kansas City, Mo.


I want to offer a word of thanks for the article “A Mighty Fortress” by Dr. Albert Collver. How wonderful it was to hear some of the history behind the composition of this great hymn. I was especially intrigued to discover that the hymn was written, not as a battle hymn, but rather as a hymn of comfort for Luther during a time of his life that was marked with great suffering. Is this not what the Reformation was, in its essence, all about? Comfort! The rediscovery of the Gospel by Luther and the Reformers was a rediscovery of the kind and merciful heart of God toward sinners who were and are suffering in a broken world. The article helped to underscore that our remarkable Lutheran heritage is essentially founded in the profound comfort that is ours in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Thanks and great job!

Rev. Paul Schlueter
St Paul Lutheran Church
Milford Center, Ohio


A mighty good article! I enjoyed reading Dr. Albert Collver’s “A Mighty Fortress” in the October Lutheran Witness. I’m curious: Who doesn’t love Luther’s battle hymn of the Reformation? I’ve heard it on TV and at funerals at churches that are not confessing Lutherans. Believe it or not, I even once heard that a Roman Catholic church sang the hymn! Collver’s overview of the history behind the hymn and Luther’s struggles, as well as his personal reflection of what it meant for him growing up, what it meant for the Malagasy Christians who sang it during Lent, and what it can mean for us now in times of trial and testing were well said. Thank you.

Rev. Derek Roberts
First Lutheran Church and School
Knoxville, Tenn.


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