Thanks In The Midst Of A Difficult Year. . .

I’m guessing that most of us have ever experienced anything like 2020. Just over the course of the last few days I have heard of more sickness, death, brokenness, pain, and heartache visiting friends near and far. Sin’s wake continues its furious cascade. But we are not the only ones who have ever experienced this.

Since our first parents rebelled in the Garden, human rebellion continues and the effects of sin are felt everywhere. If you look back in history you will find that our times are certainly not the worst.

Here’s just one example: I had no idea of the backstory of the familiar hymn, “Now Thank We All Our God”. Martin Rinkart, the hymn’s writer, was the only pastor in the city of Ellenberg, Germany during the Thirty Years War. Crowding, hunger and plague (sound familiar) were chronic problems there. It was so bad that one year Rinkart conducted 5,000 funerals, including the funeral of his wife. Unimaginable. And yet, he was committed to remaining thankful to God and to teaching congregants to do the same. Hew wrote this hymn for that purpose in 1636. Amazing. These words have so much more depth, punch, and meaning for me today. I pray that today we might all humbly follow Rinkart’s lead as we gather to celebrate Thanksgiving. . .

1 Now thank we all our God
with heart and hands and voices,
who wondrous things has done,
in whom his 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,
to keep us in his grace,
and guide us when perplexed,
and free us from all ills
of this world in the next.

3 All praise and thanks to God
the Father now be given,
the Son and Spirit blest,
who reign in highest heaven
the one eternal God,
whom heaven and earth adore;
for thus it was, is now,
and shall be evermore. 

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