In preparation for conducting the American Kantorei’s Reformation Concert at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, last October, I listened to the Roland Bainton biography of Martin Luther. Since then I’ve listened to David Teems’ biography of William Tyndale, who was executed for translating the Bible into English, and am now listening to his other book about the King James Bible. At one point through all of this, I came to the realization that the Word of God, in all its fullness and in many and various languages, has been available to mankind for less than 500 years since 1517 marks the beginning of the Reformation. Certainly this is a gift we must treasure, share, and celebrate in both word and song. As Martin Luther says in his book Treatise on the Last Words of David:
For faith does not rest and declare a holiday; it bursts into action, speaks and preaches of this promise and grace of God, so that other people may also come up and partake of it. Yes, his great delight impels him [David] to compose beautiful and sweet psalms and to sing lovely and joyous songs, both to praise and to thank God in his happiness and to serve his fellowmen by stimulating and teaching them.