Thursday, November 19, 2009

Now Thank We All Our God

Martin Rinkart was a pastor in the city of Eilenberg, Saxony during the 30 years war (1618-1648). A walled city, Eilenberg served as a haven for refugees trying to escape the horrors of war. Severely attacked at least 3 times during the war, it also suffered famine and pestilence because of the war. At times Rinkart was the only pastor in the city. During the pestilence of 1637 he conducted about 4500 burial services, including that of his wife. From the midst of such horrendous conditions came one of the most victorious hymns of our faith … most often sung only once a year. Catherine Winkworth crafted the most commonly used English translation:

Now thank we all our God
With heart and hands and voices,
Who wondrous things hath done,
In whom His world rejoices;
Who, from our mothers’ arms,
Hath blessed us on our way
With countless gifts of love,
And still is ours today.

O may this bounteous God
Through all our life be near us,
With ever joyful hearts
And blessed peace to cheer us;
And keep us in His grace,
And guide us when perplexed,
And free us from all ill,
In this world and the next.

All praise and thanks to God
The Father now be given,
The Son and Him who reigns
With them in highest heaven,
The one eternal God,
Whom earth and heav’n adore;
For thus it was, is now,
And shall be evermore.
This story both shames and encourages me. In a situation that would easily have driven me to despair, Rinkart's faith shone brightly. I gotta stop whining.

That’s enough to think about for now. The peace of Christ to you.


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