Now Thank We All Our God1
Song Singing and Thanks Giving in Difficult Times
How could Thanksgiving be the same in a year when almost everything else has been 'out of sorts'? Sadly, it won't be. But while many will understandably miss the familiar holiday habits and hugs, the troubling issues of 2020 cannot change the word that God has issued about giving thanks: "...give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." (I Thessalonians 5:18) God's word regularly reminds us that, in Christ, we always have reasons, incomparable reasons, to be grateful.
In a new essay for The Gospel Coalition website, writer Clarissa Moll points us to a classic hymn of gratitude, "Now Thank We All Our God". Listen to what she tells us about why this song is especially relevant for us today:
This hymn of gratitude rose to popularity at a strange time in European history, when it seemed there was little for which to be grateful. As the Thirty Years’ War raged through the interior of the continent, plague spread rapidly through communities in ways that now feel eerily familiar.
The hymn's author was German pastor Martin Rinkart. He penned these words in 1637, a year, we are told, when he "performed more than 4,000 funerals... including that of his wife.” Moll continues...
In that setting—when social and political unrest induced daily fear, when pandemic threatened life and livelihood—Rinkart wrote his now-famous words about thankfulness. Into this disastrous moment in history, he exhorted his parish, “Now thank we all our God.” In this hour, when life feels dark and hopeless. Now is the time to praise. People desperate for light and hope and direction rallied to his words, and the hymn soared in popularity.
...Rinkart pointed his congregation––and us––to a bounteous God who fulfills every need in want and in plenty, in war and in peace, in sickness and in health... [his] words remind us that gratitude never depends on our situation but ever relies on our love for the One who’s provided for our greatest need in Christ.
What important reminders in times like these. I'd encourage you to read Clarissa Moll's entire post here. And after that, have a listen to a couple different versions of Rinkart's hymn. I think you'll be even more thankful as a result.