Ein’ feste Burg ist unser Gott
We see many things from the sundry roads we travel, but few are as recurrent as places of worship. Churches come on all sizes, shapes and levels of grandeur. Some are grander than others as the splendor index varies considerably. For some churches the snap, crackle and pop comes from the curb appeal of its building, some magnetic stroke of architecture which draws one right off the road and into the spirit. Then there are congregations which generate joyful noises of living faith within plainest of humble structures.
The faithful are often defined by the hymns the offer up on Sundays. Some church buildings remind us of specific hymns. There is the little chapel on the former Navy Base at Charleston which bears the first line of the Navy Hymn. Then there is the small locked down church in our photo which we spotted on Hwy. 601 which reminds us of one hymn in particular: "A Mighty Fortress is Our God", a hymn written by Martin Luther sometime in the late 1520s has been translated many time into many languages. It has been called the Battle Hymn of the Reformation.
The first line of the original hymn in German goes this way, " Ein’ feste Burg ist unser Gott, Ein' gute Wehr und Waffen ." In English it says, " A Mighty Fortress is our God, A trusty Shield and Weapon ." The wording has been toned down by Fredrick Hedge in the 1850s to be a bit less strident, but the message is quite clear. "For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe ."
Of course, the bars on this church are for practical purposes in that it's a small fortress in a bad neighborhood. It suggests a bulwark protecting the faithful from Lucifer's personal representatives in the hood as much as blocking his burglary of the soul.