And he wasn’t done yet! Any way you look at it, Martin Luther himself was a very prolific individual. In his 40 or so years of ministry, he went on to preach over 4000 sermons, to translate the entire Bible into German, and to write 68 addito0nal volumes worth of other materials. He also found the time to write 38 hymns, the most famous of which is titled “A MIGHTY FORTRESS IS OUR GOD”.
Perhaps you are familiar with the first verse to this well-known hymn…
“A mighty Fortress is our God, A Bulwark never failing; Our Helper He amid the flood, Of mortal ills prevailing: For still our ancient foe, Doth seek to work us woe; His craft and power are great, And, armed with cruel hate, On earth is not his equal.”
Bearing these words in mind, I want to relate a story recounted by The Rev. Dr. Gregory Seltz on The Lutheran Hour on October 29, 2017:
There's a story that came out of World War II about this transforming power amidst the world's evil and chaos. The story was about a small village in Poland, and the fateful day was when the Nazis came to town. It was a day where the phrase "the just will live by faith" was better today "the just will die in faith."
The people were gathered in their church. They were there worshiping when the troops of the Third Reich swarmed into the village. They entered the church. They escorted everyone outside, and they set fire to the structure. As the soldiers then trained their weapons on the congregation, these people began to sing. Now what song did they sing? What verse could matter now?
They began to sing "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God." In the midst of the madness of the modern world - a world of Third Reichs and master races and military madness and arrogant humanistic pride - another message rang out: a mighty fortress is our God. And strangely, these German soldiers - many of them just children themselves, doing what they were told-they realized that these were words and this was the music of a hymn that they themselves had heard. It was written by a famous German long ago, Martin Luther.
It was a song that many of them sang growing up, though long since drowned out by the new promise of the so-called modern world. Now, here, it was being sung amidst violence, amidst fire, amidst danger, at the end of the barrel of a gun, but the people kept singing. They sang verse after verse, waiting for the bullets they expected to rip into their bodies and stop their song, but the bullets never came.
Finally, looking around at the German soldiers surrounding them, they were astonished to see the guns lowered and every hardened Nazi face streaming with tears. The soldiers, one by one, two by two, slowly turned and climbed back into their trucks, as they pulled away from the little town, leaving behind a congregation of the faithful standing outside of their burning church, singing. No doubt these words still echoed in their ears…
Dr. Seltz then concludes by quoting the second verse of Luther’s immortal hymn…
"Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing; were not the right man on our side, the man of God's own choosing? Dost ask who this may be? Christ Jesus, it is He. Lord Sabaoth His Name, from age to age the same, and He must win the battle."
For my part, I am thankful for the example of Martin Luther. Like the Prophet Daniel of the Old Testament, and like the Apostles Peter, James, and John, as well as the Apostle Paul later on, of the New Testament, Martin Luther was willing to take his stand for God irrespective of the consequences!
For by his own testimony, when given the chance to recant while at his trial for heresy by the agents of the infamous inquisition, Martin Luther said: “I cannot and will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand, I can do no other, so help me God. Amen.”
God went on to deliver Luther, just as He had earlier delivered Daniel, and Peter, James, John, and Paul all before him! And I believe the story related by Dr. Seltz above illustrates that God still rewards all who remain faithful to Him!
I pray that I too will be found faithful when I am called upon to take a stand! And I pray the same for all who profess the name of Jesus! May we, like all who were faithful before us, faithfully embrace the challenge of the Apostle Paul, who shared this challenge with the Galatian Christians (in chapter 5, verse 1) of the New Testament era: “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”
STORY SOURCE: https://www.lutheranhour.org/sermon.asp?articleid=30450.
SCRIPTURE SOURCE: http://biblehub.com/galatians/5-1.htm.