Though many hymns have been attributed to Ambrose, “Savior of the Nations, Come” is one of a few hymns that is evidentially attributed to Ambrose. Martin Luther, also writing during a period of great adversity, provided a literal translation of this text into German from which many English translations have since been produced. Fred Precht rightly says of the hymn: “In the history of hymnody this hymn is the Advent hymn par excellence.”
Certain holy things mark the communion of saints. How many of these holy things there are can vary in the reformers’ discussion. Far from being some nebulous concept and invisible reality with little or no definite connection to the solid world of human experience, the Lutheran reformers pointed to an identifiable, locatable church, which was Christ’s own church as his words rattled ears, as his gifts met and hallowed embodied sinners, and as those so touched came to speak and sing of their incarnate Lord, and to suffer alongside him.
The Litany was in use during Luther’s early years of reform, though he desired it to be sung in the Mass and the daily offices of the congregations.
When the attacks of the evil one assail us and in times of thanksgiving, we can trust in the One who is faithful and has promised to be with us always and rejoice with Luther that “Our victory has been won; the Kingdom ours remaineth.”
An interactive timeline of before, during, and after the Reformation that was, is, and always will be All About Jesus.
Although Luther had initially believed that his condemnation at Worms was the end of his life and Reformation, it proved ultimately to be merely the end of the beginning.
Thanks to the combined impact of the printing press and the urgency of the Reformers to translate the Bible into many languages, generations of people have been able to receive the gifts of the Gospel through the written word in their own language.
For Luther, if one would lose the proclamation of the Law, one would also lose the sweet gospel which sets sinners free from condemnation. He said, “Yet it is safest to turn to a middle road, to turn too much neither to the right nor to the left. For both are dangerous, and, as I said already, for this reason also, the office of the word was instituted, that we might teach both, that is, the Law and the Gospel.”
Luther simply would not delve into philosophical argument with Zwingli on the possibility of the real presence of Jesus’ body in the Sacrament. When Zwingli said to Luther, “Prove, I pray, that the body of Christ can be in many places,” Luther tersely replied, “This is my body.”
Luther didn’t care about attacking the pope or any other ecclesial authority capriciously. His concern was for God’s Word and the doctrine.