5 Notable Reformation Hymns That Aren’t “A Mighty Fortress”

Oct 9, 2018 9:00:00 AM

5-reformation-hymns

It’s almost Reformation Day, and that means we get to enjoy hearing some of Lutheranism’s most famous hymns. (“A Mighty Fortress Is Our God,” I’m looking at you!) If you’re looking for some additional Reformation-related hymns to use around this time, consider using the ones mentioned below. We selected most of these by using the hymn search tool in Lutheran Service Builder with the keyword “Reformation.”

We also have created social media graphics with quotes from the selected hymns, and they are all shown below. At the end of the post, you can download the graphics for free and use them on your church’s social media accounts.



LSB 645: “Built on the Rock”

“Built on the Rock” pulls from Matthew 16:13–18, when Jesus reinstates Peter. Specifically, verse 18 is where the term “rock” is mentioned. The portion of the hymn for the graphic is from stanza 3 and refers to 1 Peter 2:4–5. We know the true Rock of our faith is Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit gives us the faith that leads to everlasting life. Hence we are “living stones,” alive in Christ and ready and willing to do His work. Below, listen to a recording of “Built on the Rock” from Reformation Mosaics by Jacob B. Weber.




LSB 561: “The Tree of Life”

The phrase “tree of life” undoubtedly refers to the Garden of Eden. The portion of the hymn text we are highlighting refers to Genesis 3:15. Immediately after Adam and Eve sinned by eating from the forbidden tree, God comforted them with His promise of salvation. His Son, Jesus Christ, would bear the sins of everyone on the cross and would rise again after three days. He would defeat sin, death, and the devil forever and earn our salvation. Here is a recording of the SATB version of “The Tree of Life” with text by Stephen P. Starke and music by Walker Williams.




LSB 336: “Lo! He Comes with Clouds Descending”

The title and first stanza of this hymn refer to Revelation 1:7, which speaks of Jesus’ second coming. Our selected portion, from stanza 4, draws from the angels’ words of praise to Jesus in Revelation 7:12. May we give all the glory to God in everything we do. And may we continually praise Him always and every day, in times both good and bad. The video below is a handbell setting of “Lo! He Comes with Clouds Descending” by Sondra K. Tucker.




LSB 572: “In the Shattered Bliss of Eden”

Our highlighted portion of “In the Shattered Bliss of Eden” speaks of Holy Communion, which we see instituted in Matthew 26:26–29, Mark 14:22–25, and Luke 22:14–23. Verse 28 of the Matthew passage specifically mentions the forgiveness of sins, which is echoed in this hymn. Though our bliss was destroyed when Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, God provided a way to heal our broken relationship with Him through the death and resurrection of His Son. Through His Word and Sacraments, God comes to us and delivers the forgiveness of sins so we can be with Him in bliss forever. In the recording below, the hymn is played with the prelude “Rustington” from Hymn Prelude Library, Volume 9 (PQR) edited by Kevin Hildebrand.




LSB 713: “From God Can Nothing Move Me”

The theme for this hymn is drawn from Romans 8:38–39. In our Baptism, God claims us as His own, and He will not let anything snatch us away from Him. We are secure and safe in Him. Let us rejoice and praise God for this, as our highlighted portion of this hymn suggests. The recording here uses a prelude from Treasures of the Singing Church, Volume 2 by Henry V. Gerike.




Download free graphics for Reformation to share on your church’s social media accounts.

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Peter Reske

Written by Peter Reske

Peter C. Reske, senior editor of music/worship at Concordia Publishing House, holds degrees in English literature and historical musicology from Marquette University and The Pennsylvania State University. He was the editor of Lutheran Service Book and its attendant resources.