Accidentally Lutheran lyrics: When a popular artist or songwriter, probably by pure accident, gives expression to the Christian faith in keeping with Lutheran confession.
Pleased to meet you,
Hope you guessed my name
But what’s puzzling you
Is the nature of my game.
SONG: Sympathy for the Devil
ARTIST: The Rolling Stones
It was one of the strangest comments I’ve heard on a Sunday morning. Serving a new Call, I had just preached a sermon on the dangers Satan poses to our faith. A middle-aged woman shook my hand and said, “I have always appreciated how the Devil is very real at this church!” At first I wasn’t sure what she meant. She explained that at a previous congregation, her pastor rarely – if ever – spoke of Satan as an actual and real enemy, making him even more dangerous. She appreciated that our church took him and his work seriously, and she was happy that I would continue in that doctrine.
In the Nicene Creed, we state that we believe in “all things visible and invisible.” This includes this evil foe, who tries to bring deadly woe to those who are justified through faith in Christ and are bound for heaven. St. Paul reminds us “we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12).
In 1969, the Rolling Stones released the song “Sympathy for the Devil,” which lists off numerous ways Satan has played a role in historical events, such as wars and assassinations. (The very month the song was to be released, Robert Kennedy was shot, so the wording was quickly changed to include both Kennedys.) The lyrics are written from Satan’s point of view, as if he must introduce himself, and plead for some sympathy and courtesy. Unintentionally, Mick Jagger has described an interesting aspect of the Devil’s approach, which is often one of subtlety and hidden cunning.
Just as a daredevil lure is used to mask a hook for destroying the fish, Satan often tempts us with things that appear to be to our benefit, only to hide his true motive of laying our souls to waste. Jagger is right when he says that Satan truly has stolen many a man’s soul and faith. We should not be puzzled by the nature of Satan’s game. His purpose is not merely to cause us to sin, but to fall in love with our sin and pull us from Christ.
Although this song seeks sympathy for the devil, thanks be to our heavenly Father that He took no sympathy on our greatest enemy. Instead, through the incarnation of His Son and by His innocent suffering and death, He has now crushed the head of this serpent. By the simple weapon of faith which clings to Christ alone for salvation, we possess all power over Satan’s schemes. Through Word and Sacrament, God continues to keep us at a safe distance from his evil work.
Dr. Martin Luther wisely took Satan seriously. His morning and evening prayers include the petition that the evil foe would have no power over us. Following the great reformer’s lead, may the Devil continue to be considered a very real enemy of our faith so that we always stay by the side of the Valiant One, Christ Jesus. By this Savior’s work, the Devil is already judged; the deed is done. At our Lord’s side, we tremble not; we fear no ill.
Chaplain Don Moldstad
Bethany Lutheran College