Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Singing with Martin Luther

For Luther music is a gift of God to be loved and cherished. He sees singing as a lovely way to confess what Christ has done for us on the cross and what He continues to do in the life of the church. In the preface an early Lutheran Hymnal of 1545 he wrote:

“For God has cheered our hearts and minds through his dear Son, whom he gave for us to redeem us from sin, death, and the devil. He who believes this earnestly cannot be quiet about it. But he must gladly and willingly sin and speak about it so that others also may come and hear it. And whoever does not want to sing and speak of it shows that he does not believe and that he does not belong under the new and joyful testament , but under the old, lazy, and tedious testament.”[1]For Luther the joy of the Gospel simply urges us to sing!

Luther wrote the following about singing hymns:

“For the evil spirit is ill at ease wherever God’s Word is sun or preached in true faith. He is a spirit of gloom and cannot abide where he finds a spiritually happy heart, that is, where the heart rejoices in God and in His Word.”[2]

“For we know that music, too, is odious and unbearable to the demons. Indeed I plainly judge, and do not hesitate to affirm, that except for theology there is no art that could be put on the same level with music, since except for theology (music) alone produces what otherwise only theology can do, namely, a calm and joyful disposition. Manifest proof of this is the facts that the devil, the creator of saddening care and disquieting worries, takes flight at the sound of music almost as he takes flight at the word of theology.”[3]

[1] LW 53:333
[2] LW 15:274.
[3] LW 49:427-428.

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