I thought that I'd conclude the traditional "Thanksgiving season" with another hymn of praise. Now Thanksgiving should be 24/7 for all Christians and this hymn would be appropriate to sing throughout the year. Unfortunately, it is seldom sung or heard anymore. But what a challenge for us to live with thankful hearts and voices for the countless gifts of love our Father has given to us. This week I have been able to find some of the history concerning the writing. 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. Certainly God has blessed you and maybe He's also brought you through some very difficult personal "wars". Raise your voice in praise as you sing these words and thank Him for the countless gifts of love you have experienced from His hands.
(1) 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.
(2) 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 ills, in this world and the next!
(3) 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 am providing two sources this week for you. The first is an upbeat version which I really enjoy.
The second is a more traditional, classical version of this great hymn.