The well know celebratory hymn, Now Thank We All Our God, sounds jubilant as though it was written in a time of prosperity and plenty. But it was written as a result of the terrible and tragic Thirty Years War by Martin Rinkart, a Lutheran minister, was in Eilenburg, Saxony. Like scenes from the last few decades in Africa, this city saw a great torrent of refugees with broken lives. Plague and famine were everywhere and pastors conducted dozens of funerals every day. At one point the Swiss Army surrounding the city required a high ransom but Rinkart pleaded with them to lower their required ransom and they did. Shortly after that the war ended and Pastor Rinkart wrote this hymn for a celebration. This is truly a hymn of thanksgiving for God’s mercy and Pastor Rinkart’s voice used once for pleading to the Swiss is preserved in this grateful hymn of praise.
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 blessèd 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.