Lord God to Thee We give all praise (LSB 522)
St. Michael and All Angels
Philipp Melanchthon, the chief author of the Augsburg Confession, wrote this beautiful hymn on the holy angels and their work. Written a few years before Luther’s death one can imagine it bringing comfort to Luther himself as he lay on his death bed.
Music helps us to see what is unseen. Through Word and song we see the holy angels: that watchful band that guard us in this life and attend us as we die (stanza 7). As we busily go they are forgotten, but they do not forget us as they protect toddling children, those who travel, grow weak, who are tempted, who are dying and many others.
The hymn shows them in two dimensions, before the Father in heaven, and here on earth in daily life. Stanzas 1–3 teach that they are created and are attending the Christian Church on earth. This makes clear their work for human beings as seen as they attended even to our Lord Jesus in birth, time of danger, and Resurrection.
Stanzas 4–6 depict another angel, who is not from eternity, but also one of the creation, the devil. He is not equal to Jesus but fallen and angry (4), always causing trouble in both Church and State (5), and as St. Peter writes is looking to harm Christians like a roaring lion.
He cannot and will not win, as we are blessed to see in Revelation the angels fight for us in heaven. Today we can join our voices with theirs in praise of God (8) because Satan has been conquered by the blood of Christ.
Rev. Adrian N. Sherrill serves Trinity Lutheran Church, Denver, Colorado.