Sunday, October 08, 2006

Sunday Hymn - Now Thank We All Our God

Now Thank We All Our God

Now thank we all our God,
with heart and hands and voices,
Who wondrous things has done,
in Whom this world rejoices;
Who from our mothers’ arms
has 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 bless├Ęd peace to cheer us;
And keep us in His grace,
and guide us when perplexed;
And free us from all ills,
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 Heaven adore;
For thus it was, is now,
and shall be evermore.

I generally think of this hymn as a hymn for Thanksgiving. But I found as I read the background on it, that it is actually a hymn of thanksgiving. Here's what Cyber-Hymnal says:
Martin Rinkart, a Lu­ther­an min­is­ter, was in
Eil­en­burg, Sax­o­ny, dur­ing the Thir­ty Years’ War.
The walled ci­ty of Eil­en­burg saw a stea­dy stream of
re­fu­gees pour through its gates. The Swed­ish ar­my
sur­round­ed the ci­ty, and fa­mine and plague were
ramp­ant. Eight hund­red homes were de­stroyed, and the peo­ple
be­gan to per­ish. There was a tre­men­dous strain on the
pas­tors who had to con­duct do­zens of fun­er­als
dai­ly. Fi­nal­ly, the pas­tors, too, suc­cumbed, and
Rink­art was the on­ly one left—doing 50 fun­er­als a day. When
the Swedes de­mand­ed a huge ran­som, Rink­art left the
safe­ty of the walls to plead for mer­cy. The Swed­ish
com­mand­er, im­pressed by his faith and cour­age, low­ered
his de­mands. Soon af­ter­ward, the Thir­ty Years’ War
end­ed, and Rinkart wrote this hymn for a grand cel­e­bra­tion
ser­vice. It is a test­a­ment to his faith that, af­ter such
mis­e­ry, he was able to write a hymn of abid­ing trust and
gra­ti­tude to­ward God.
That puts a different perspective on my life and reasons why I should be thankful to God for salvation!

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