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Martin Luther was born in an earthen floored cottage to poor German peasants on a chilly November eve. As a child, Martin developed a love for music and often went about doing his chores while singing at the top of his voice. He attracted the attention of the neighborhood boys and after teaching them to sing in parts: soprano, tenor, alto, and bass, Martin would lead them to neighboring towns where they would sing at cottage doors in return for bread or a good hot sausage cake.
Little wonder that Martin found a way to attend choir school at Eisenach, where he agreed to sing in return for his schooling. He then went on to the University of Ehrfurt, where he won the highest honors. Martin was an avid reader of the Bible; he took great pleasure in the wisdom found within its pages and determined that those wonderful thoughts contained therein should be available to everyone. However, the Bible that he was familiar with was written in Latin which at that time was an unknown tongue to most people who lived at that time. One of Luther’s lifelong obsessions was to translate those words into the vernacular, the language of the common people, a work that was forbidden by the established church. Then, in his own small cottage, Luther began to write music, songs that would inspire his friends and neighbors to put their faith in God as their Savior as the lived out their humble lives. During those years, Luther was beginning to question the teachings of the Roman Catholic church and there were times when he and his followers were threatened with death for daring to worship as they believed the Bible taught them to do.
One day, Martin observed a small bird sitting on a branch of the pear tree that was located just outside of his window. He spent some time meditating on that little creature and thought; isn’t it amazing how that little bird covers its head with its wings, and will choose to sleep right there, so fearless, while over it are infinite starry spaces and the great vast depths of an immense universe. Yet, it fears not; it is at home with its surroundings in God’s presence. We can learn such valuable lessons from just observing our Lord’s creation.
Luther sat down at a small wooden table and with pen in hand, he wrote the well-known hymn, “A Mighty fortress Is Our God,” and the story goes that he never stopped writing until the who hymn had been written. That great hymn was printed immediately and it spread through the countryside overnight, becoming the rallying song of numerous people as they fought for justice and truth. In the words of Martin Luther, “A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing.” “Salvation belongeth unto the Lord: thy blessing is upon thy people. Selah,” Psalm 3:8.
Gene Dumas is preacher at Manatee Springs Church of Christ.