A Mighty Fortress Is Our God
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble...
The 46th Psalm was used by Martin Luther to write the hymn "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God". This hymn describes the struggle between good and evil. In this hymn God is called a fortress, bulwark and helper. Martin Luther was one of the leaders of the Evangelical reform movements of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, usually called the Protestant Reformation. What is unique about the contributions of Luther is his continuing influence in church music, liturgy and theology for nearly five centuries.
The most popular and enduring arts-related activity in the United States is choral singing. Twenty-eight point five million people sing in one or more of about 250,000 choruses. There may be scientific reasons for this: Singing, particularly in groups, makes people happy.
Singing releases endorphins, the feel-good chemical of the brain—and choral singing has the greatest pleasurable effect. In one study, choral singers on average expressed greater happiness than the general public, even when those singers were carrying greater burdens than the average person not singing in choirs.
Another benefit of choral singing is based on the fact that it's a social activity, which gives a sense of belonging and combats loneliness. Singing is an essential part of any worship service.
The psalmist wrote:
By night may a song be on my lips, a prayer to the God of my life!
The history behind the hymn Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus
This beloved Advent text by Charles Wesley touches the full range of biblical memory and human hope, evoking the promise of Christ's coming to transform human life in the present.
The tune Good Cheer by Welsh composer Rowland H. Prichard is one of the finest tunes from the late 19th century.
The History Behind the Hymn I Love Thy Kingdom, Lord
Timothy Dwight, a president of Yale, was an important scholar, hymn writer, and Congregational pastor in the early years of the United States. This hymn is an expression of love and dedication to the Church and it is based on Psalm 137:5-6.
It is among the earliest texts written in America which is still in general use. Dwight writes of his love for the church. But the Church he speaks of is only represented by the tangible elements here on earth. The church itself consists of the redeemed, who are saved by Christ's own blood sacrifice.
I Love thy kingdom, Lord. Amen.
The History Behind the Hymn Blest Be the Tie That Binds
John Fawcett, a Baptist minister working at a parish in Wainsgate received a call to join a larger parish in London. As he and his wife loaded the wagon with their possessions for the move, they were surrounded by their beloved parishioners. Moved by their love and concern, Fawcett ordered the wagon unpacked and stayed at Wainsgate for a total of fifty years. The hymn was first written under the title Brotherly Love.