Summary:  In JS Bach’s time (1685-1750), this day was viewed so significant that the Lutheran church held a feast commemorating it.  Bach wrote a cantata, three actually ( 79, 80, and 192), for the occasion. Typically, the Lutheran Church service in Leipzig began with a cantata performance, followed by a sermon.  I have no clue what anyone could say that would be comparably significant following one of these dazzling musical displays.  The particulars and a youthful performance of 79 follows…

BWV 79 “The Lord Is Son And Shield”

  • Readings – Revelation 14:6-8, 2 Thessalonians 2:3-8
  • Overall Theme: The sun is used as a metaphor for God which shines brightly down on us by His Word which is our protective shield.
  • Key: G-Major.

Cantata for Reformation

  1. CORO: God the Lord is sun and shield.  The Lord gives grace and honor, He will allow no good to be lacking from the righteous.
  2. ARIA (A): God is our sun and shield!  Therefore this goodness shall be praised by our grateful heart, which He protects like His little flock.  For He will protect us from now on, although the enemy sharpens his arrows and a vicious hound already barks.
  3. CHORALE: Now let everyone thank God with hearts, mouths, and hands, who does great things for us and to all ends.  who has done for us from our mothers’s wombs and childhood on many uncountable good things and does so still today.
  4. RECITATIVE (B): Praise God, we know the right way to blessedness; for Jesus, You revealed it to us through Your word, therefore Your name shall be praised for all time.  Since, however, many yet at this time must labor under a foreign yoke out of blindness, ah! then have mercy also on them graciously, so that a they recognize the right way and simply call You their Intercessor.
  5. DUET (S,B): God, ah God abandon Your one ones never again!  Let Your Word shine brightly for us: although harshly against the enemy rages, yet our mouths shall praise you.
  6. CHORAL: Uphold us in the truth, grant eternal freedom, to praise Your name through Jesus Christ.  Amen.