Sunday, July 27, 2014

Hymn-ful Sundays! "Now Thank We All Our God"

Originally written in German in the 17th century, this hymn was one of thanksgiving usually sung before meals. It was written as a celebration for the end of the Thirty Years' War, during which Martin Rinkart, the hymnwriter and a Lutheran minister, was the only clergyman in the besieged city of Eilenburg and bore the responsibility of thousands who died because of disease and famine. Yet he was able to write these words after the war, and it showed the depth of his faith in God. The lyrics were translated into English in the 19th century by Catherine Winkworth, who was known for her translation of many German hymns.

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.

Martin Rinkart
tr Catherine Winkworth

Continuing on with the thankfulness theme from last week's Biweekly Bit, this hymn calls on us to give thanks to God with all that we have and all that we are. And it tells us why we should give thanks too: because of the wondrous things He has done, because the entire world rejoices in Him. We are thankful because God is both sovereign and good, and always will be.

Be blessed and shine with thankfulness!

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A person finds joy in giving an apt reply—
and how good is a timely word! -Prov 15:23