On Sunday, October 29, St. Paul’s worship services will celebrate the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation.
Most hymns and music will be in recognition of the Reformation, and the lessons appointed for Martin Luther’s saint day will be used: Isaiah 55:6-11, Psalm 46, Romans 3:21-28, and John 15:1-11.
“A Mighty Fortress Is Our God” (Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott), Luther’s paraphrase of Psalm 46, will be the opening hymn, and the organ voluntaries will be contrasting pieces based on this tune.
The opening voluntary (1875-6), arranged by Buxtehude, is an ornamented chorale, and one has to listen closely for the melody. The closing voluntary (1906-08) by Karg-Elert is a written-out improvisation on the tune.
Psalm 46 will be sung as an Anglican Chant set to music by Luther, and the text of the closing hymn, “Lord, Keep Us Steadfast in Your Word” is by Luther.
The offertory is the “Alleluia” from Cantata Lobet den Herrn (“Praise the Lord, My Soul”), based by Johann Sebastian Bach on Psalm 117. From a music perspective, writes Anna Teagearden, Director of Children’s Music, Bach is “one of the best things to come out of the Reformation.” And this last movement is “quintessential Bach with its infectious and joyful cry to conclude the Psalm.”