He who sings scares away his woes

“Though this world should threaten us, we will not fear. God has willed us to triumph…” Those words are extracted from a hymn that is popularly known as “A mighty Fortress is our God.” It is perhaps one of the most powerful hymns known to Christian communities across the globe.

The hymn has rich history rooted in medieval (middle) ages. During that particular age, Christians who believed differently from the universal doctrine of the organized religion of that time were persecuted and prosecuted.

Yet, Martin Luther, a German theologian and a reformer who infused bible-centric teachings in the church and played a tremendous role in transforming an otherwise corrupt and mean institution; wrote the song.

The hymn is a paraphrase of Psalm 46. Popularly known as the “Battle hymn of the reformation”, “A mighty fortress is our God” has endured time and space. It has since been translated into world languages. The hymn was sung in the funeral of US President Eisenhower at the Washington Cathedral to comfort the nation and the bereaved family.

A mighty Fortress is our God is big in African worship services as well. The hymn became a symbol of hope in Uganda when Christians were persecuted by King Mwanga II. King Mwanga ordered the assassination of Bishop James Hannington-an Anglican Bishop in charge of East Africa.

Moreover, on 3rd June 1886, thirty-two young men, pages of the court of Kabaka Mwanga II of Buganda kingdom, were burned to death at Namugongo for refusing to renounce their Christian faith and to engage in homosexuality with King Kabaka. As boys were led into the fire, they began to sing a hymn. Guess which hymn was on their lips? “A mighty fortress is our God.”

A mighty Fortress is our God is a hymn of faith in the face of uncertainty.  Like other hymns including the contemporary Christian music, the hymn reminds us of the guaranteed victory we have in God through Jesus Christ. The bible says, in Christ, we are more than conquerors. I don’t know what you are going through. But at least I know that our God has promised to walk with us and comfort us in the time of discomfort.

Our journey of faith and life isn’t easy. Betrayals and difficulties will always be there. But God is our comforter. Are you weighed down with loads of issues? Sing. Are you sad? Sing. Are you betrayed? Sing. Are you brokenhearted? Sing. Are you celebrating? Sing. Singing melts a heavy heart and inspires our faith to believe in the possibility. In one of his works, Miguel De Cervantes, Spanish novelist, playwright and poet opined:  “He who sings scares away his woes.” May we sing our woes away this week and in the days ahead.  Have a beautiful week.

Author: By Jacktone Ambuka, a Kenyan citizen residing at Pennsylvania USA.

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