A Note from Pastor

Luther was in his study at Wittenberg one day when he heard a beggar singing these words out in the street, 'Es ist das Heil uns kommen her…” As we sing in English, “Salvation unto us has come by God's free grace and favor; Good works cannot avert our doom, they help and save us never. Faith looks to Jesus Christ alone, who did for all the world atone, He is our One Redeemer.”  What Luther was hearing was one of the greatest Christian hymns ever written; a hymn composed by an excommunicated Roman Catholic priest named Paul Speratus.  Once a staunch defender of the errors of the Papacy, he was eventually won over to the Evangelical cause by the Lutheran teaching on justification.  Believing in Sola Gratia, that we are saved by grace through faith alone, inspired Speratus to write this hymn.  In 1523 Speratus would work with Luther on the first Evangelical hymnal, often referred to as Das Achtleiderbuch because it contained eight Hymns.  Of the eight hymns in the original Lutheran Hymnal, four remain that are still sung to this day: Dear Christians One and All Rejoice (LSB 556)Salvation Unto Us Has Come (LSB 555)Oh Lord Above in Heaven Behold  (TLH 260)and From Depths of Woe (LSB 607). Because of this hymnal, the adversaries of the Lutheran church complained that, “the whole people are singing themselves into his doctrines." Rejoicing in these words, we say, “Amen!”

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