In October of 2016 as Reformation Day approached, I found myself reading and re-reading the confession that Martin Luther made before the Diet of Worms in 1521. While some of the words that Luther is alleged to have spoken that day are no doubt apocryphal, my heart was gripped by this portion of his confession: “Unless I am convinced by the testimony of the Scriptures or by clear reason (for I do not trust either in the pope or in councils alone, since it is well known that they have often erred and contradicted themselves), I am bound by the Scriptures I have quoted and my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and will not recant anything, since it is neither safe nor right to go against conscience. May God help me. Amen.” The two lines that I couldn’t get away from were “my conscience is captive to the Word of God” and “May God help me.” For weeks, I pondered those lines, and what flowed from that meditation was the hymn text that we have now set to music…
Sheet Music: Full Sheet
When nations rage against the King
And wicked rulers claim the throne,
When rebel hearts abandon Truth,
God’s faithful servants stand alone!
I stand resolved without regret,
My conscience captive to the Word.
Yes, here I stand—God, help me stand—
Forever loyal to my Lord!
When saints surrender holy ground
And trusted comrades flee the fight,
When hurtful barbs are hurled by friends,
God, help me stand for truth and right!
When evil triumphs over good
And holy ones now stand condemned,
When precious few remain unmoved,
God, give me grace to stand with them!
When all the world dishonors God
And fools exchange His Truth for lies,
When thankless creatures spurn their Lord,
God, may I stand among the wise!
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