Christ, the Lord of Hosts, Unshaken - LSB 521

September 29th is the Festival of St. Michael and All Angels, which we will be celebrating on September 30th. The celebration of St. Michael and All Angels reminds us of how the Lord delivered us from the lying accusations of Satan by sending His Son to beat down Satan for us on the cross of Calvary, rising again on the third day to proclaim His victory over Satan’s greatest weapon: death. The tune (FORTUNATUS NEW), by Carl Schalk (b. 1929), is more commonly associated with Sing, My Tongue, the Glorious Battle (LSB 454), a fantastic Holy Week hymn that was originally set to a great Plainchant melody.  The text is by Peter Prange (b. 1972). 

Stanza One:

Christ, the Lord of hosts, unshaken By the devil’s seething rage, Thwarts the plan of Satan’s minions; Wins the strife from age to age; Conquers sin and death forever; Slams them in their steely cage. 

This stanza, like the rest of the hymn, is packed with vivid imagery, especially how Christ slams Satan and his minions in their cage. Christ has not only beaten Satan, but has completely and utterly vanquished him.  There is no escaping or undoing Christ’s victory; it is absolutely certain and final.

Stanza Two:

Michael fought the heavenly battle, Godly angels by his side; Warred against the ancient serpent, Foiled the beast, so full of pride, Cast him earthbound with his angels; Now he prowls, unsatisfied. 

Again, such incredible imagery.  Really, this hymn could be made into a Lord of the Rings style movie.  Not to get too nerdy, but when I read that stanza I see something like one of the giant battles in those films.  However, there is one difference: in this battle, there is no question who will win, because Christ has already defeated the devil and his angels.  The outcome has already been decided.  Satan lost and was kicked out of heaven and now he roams the earth, seeking whom he may devour.  

Stanza Three:

Long on earth the battle rages, Since the serpent’s first deceit; Twisted God’s command to Adam, Made forbidden fruit look sweet.  Then the curse of God was spoken: “You’ll lie crushed beneath His feet!” 

Indeed, the battle has been raging since the Fall into sin.  But God foretold Satan’s demise in the coming of His Son.

Stanza Four:

Jesus came, this word fulfilling, Trampled Satan, death defied; Bore the brunt of our temptation, On the wretched tree He died Yet to life was raised victorious; By His life our life supplied.

Christ came into the world and destroyed Satan’s plans.  The devil planned to rule the world and thought he had won when Christ died on the cross.  But unbeknownst to him, Christ was taking the punishment for all the sins of all mankind upon Himself, dying in our place.  Christ then descended to hell to proclaim His total and complete victory and finally rose from the dead on that first Easter morning.  Because He lives, we too shall live eternally!

Stanza Five:

Swift as lightning falls the tyrant From his heavenly perch on high, As the word of Jesus’ victory Floods the earth and fills the sky.  Wounded by a wound eternal Now his judgment has drawn nigh! 

No more can Satan lay any claim to us who have been bought with Christ’s own blood, washed in the waters of Holy Baptism and given faith to receive the forgiveness of sins. Death is now merely the doorway to eternal life.

Stanza Six:

Jesus, send Your angel legions When the foe would us enslave.  Hold us fast when sin assaults us; Come, then, Lord, Your people save.  Overthrow at last the dragon; Send him to his fiery grave.

Amen! Come soon, Lord Jesus!