Belting out hymns every Sunday morning when I was young is something I’ll treasure for the rest of my life. I’ve continued singing those old songs and on my latest record, I took one of my favorites, “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God,” and wrote something of my own, keeping some of Martin Luther’s original lines and parts of the melody. I’ve shared this song,( now titled “A Mighty Refuge”), for this issue of The Cry because the third verse, to me, highlights Service. It’s a set of lyrics we can sing about ourselves, to God, about how God has crafted us as the Bride of Christ. It reminds us of who we are, a people built to love deeply, to live sacrificially, to serve one another and God.
The reputation that we receive when we live like Christ is really incredible: we become known by living sacrificially, by serving our neighbors, by associating and calling into loving relationship the people at the margin, people who others may deem unlovable or untouchable. It’s extraordinary what happens when we see our fellow human through the eyes of Jesus! This can lead our lives into places of immense beauty and treasure. As an added bonus, our faithfulness in service makes us right with God and with one another. It fulfills those beautiful words of Jesus in John 13, that the mark of being a follower of Jesus would be our love for one another.
A Mighty Refuge / Guard My Heart
By Aaron Strumpel
A mighty refuge is our God, a shelter never failing;
Defender of the helpless ones, a steadfast shield prevailing
But oh my God, this world, great woe and strife unfurled
Has born the sins of flesh, we’ll not survive unless
We turn our hearts back to God
Would we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing;
The Man of Peace right by our side, our greatest fears removing:
You ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is He;
Lord Sabaoth, His Name, from age to age the same,
In Him our weakness made strong
The Body Christ has made his Bride, her beauty by him magnified
She’ll be known by her love, her life, she’ll give her all, she’ll sacrifice
For those who mourn in tears, for those whose hearts are pure
For hungry and thirsty, for those who seek his peace
His kingdom is forever.
Guard my heart with your righteousness
This faith will be my trusted shield
Guard my mind with salvation
Give me hands that can heal
Fit my feet with your Gospel shoes
Buckle my waist with your truth
Make sharp the sword of your Spirit
Give me songs full of you
Let my mind be made new
Let my heart be set on you
Let my words flow from you God
Let my life be found in you
Check out Aaron’s new album, Mighty Fortress, a collection of hymns and spiritual songs inspired by centuries of musical tradition and reimagined in contemplation.
Aaron has been a longtime friend of Word Made Flesh, having traveled on Discovery Teams during his time at George Fox University. He is now based out of Boulder, CO and collaborates with several worship and artist collectives. Aaron was WMF’s first Artist Ambassador and has been featured in several national magazines, including Relevant and Christianity Today.