The Healing Power of Song: "All Gloom and Heartache Melt Away; the Lust of Wealth, the Cares That Cling, Are All Forgotten While We Sing."

The Saturday Evening Post, November-December 2004 | Go to article overview

The Healing Power of Song: "All Gloom and Heartache Melt Away; the Lust of Wealth, the Cares That Cling, Are All Forgotten While We Sing."


One of rile most successful songwriters in history was Martin Luther, the great 16th century religious reformer who sparked the Protestant Reformation. His biggest hit, "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God," is still as popular today as ever in churches around the world. That mighty tune, Thomas Carlyle wrote. "jars upon our ears; yet there is something in it like the sound of Alpine avalanches, or the first murmur of earthquakes,"

Luther's hymns, one critic wrote in 1521. were 'so rare and majestic, so full of pith and power, so cheering and comforting, that, in sooth, you will not find his equal, much less his master."

Luther's hymn making stemmed from his deep belief that merriment and joy are good for human beings and that singing with others is good for the spirit. "Proper and honorable pleasure with good and God-fearing people is pleasing to God," he wrote. An early practitioner of psychology, Luther often counseled the depressed to avoid solitude, to seek the company of others and to fight against their negative assumptions. …

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The Healing Power of Song: "All Gloom and Heartache Melt Away; the Lust of Wealth, the Cares That Cling, Are All Forgotten While We Sing."
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