This is a special Reformation Day Words from Will. It's written in honor of Martin Luther's second love: music. According to Luther, "Next to the Word of God, the noble art of music is the greatest treasure in the world."
It's not surprising he said that. While gifted at thinking theologically, he was also quite talented when it came to hymn writing. You likely know that the muscular hymn A Mighty Fortress is our God was penned by Luther. There are others he wrote in our hymnal including:
- Savior of the Nations, Come (#214), which includes the Lutheran emphasis on God's work on our behalf in the line, "Not by human flesh and blood; by the Spirit of our God was the Word of God made flesh, woman's offspring, pure and fresh."
- Christ Jesus Lay in Death's Strong Bands (#319) is one of Luther's Easter hymns. Consider this stanza: "It was a strange and dreadful strife when life and death contended; the victory remained with life; the reign of death was ended. Stripped of power, no more it reigns, an empty form alone remains; death's sting is lost forever! Alleluia!"
- Again, it is God who is celebrated in the hymn Out of the Depths I Cry to You (#515) - It is in God that we shall hope, and not in our own merit; we rest our fears in God's good Word and trust the Holy Spirit, whose promise keeps us strong and sure; we trust the holy signature inscribed upon our temples.
As Charles Wesley would do 200 years later, Martin Luther embedded theology and scripture into hymns so that people would have their faith written deeply in their souls (like that song you can't get out of your head sometimes). They honored God and blessed God's children with the gift of their music.
Music has the ability to sooth and inspire, to excite and emote. There are feelings within us that sometimes can be articulated only by the playing of music or through experiencing it. Music is, indeed, one of God's great treasures given to us.
You are invited to enjoy the treasure of music tonight as Dr. Don Grice offers a Halloween/Reformation organ recital, beginning at 7:30 pm in the sanctuary. The music will be excellent and it will be a treat to watch him play (the organ will be brought out into full view).
No tricks, just treats tonight.