Count Nikolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf. Even for a 18th century German that name is a mouthful! But don't let the name scare you off from reading about Zinzendorf. The author of the hymn "Jesus, Thy Blood and Righteousness" (#520 in the Trinity Hymnal) is one of the more facinating and influential people in Church History.
Zinzendorf was a German Lutheran pietist who's heart was not really in serving society according to his noble birth. Instead, he showed an interest in reforming the Lutheran church that had become in his day a haven of dry orthodoxy. Zinzendorf, like other pietists, desired to bring spiritual vitality to Christ's Church. And he wasn't afraid to use his wealth, position, and influence in creative ways to serve God's people. The "Moravian Count" understood what it meant to give up all for the sake of Christ and his gospel. The parish community that he helped found on his estate became a refuge for banished Protestants throughout Catholic Europe. Zinzendorf became one with their plight when he moved from his manor house to live amidst the diverse community dwelling on his property. While seeking to bring peace and unity through the people's common faith in Christ, revival broke out among the "Herrnhut" parish on his land, and its fire did not dissipate for a hundred years. The Protestant missions movement was born from Herrnhut, an around-the-clock prayer meeting began that continued uninterrupted for generations, and several historically-important Christians were directly influenced by the ministy of the Herrnhut Moravians, including the Wesley brothers and Charles Spurgeon.
Most of the time when we sing hymns in church, we sing ignorant of the story behind their authors. Zinzendorf's story deserves to be rediscovered in our age that desperately needs reformation and revival. Zinzendorf was not a perfect man and his theology was controversial in respects. But the good work he did lives on in the lives of countless Christians who are indebted to him. This is just a small portion of his story. Read more about Ludwig von Zinzendorf at: