There are two weeks left until Thanksgiving Day. Leading up to that time when we especially show our gratitude to Almighty God for His mercies, I will be posting some songs and hymns that are filled with thankfulness.
Here is the story behind the timeless hymn written by a pastor, Martin Rinkart, Now Thank We All Our God.
“Martin Rinkart was called to be the pastor of the Lutheran church in his hometown of Eilenberg, Germany. He arrived there just as the terrible bloodshed of the Thirty Years War was beginning. The city of Eilenberg was a walled city and it became the refuge for political and military fugitives. This, however, caused serious overcrowding, and deadly pestilence and famine swept through the city. Armies overran it three times, leaving death and destruction in their wake. The population of Germany went from 16 million to 6 million during this time.
The Rinkart home was a refuge for the victims, even though he was often hard-pressed to provide for his own family. In the year 1637 the plague was particularly severe. At its peak, Rinkart was the only pastor remaining in Eilenberg, conducting as many as 50 funerals in a day. He performed more than 4000 funerals in that year alone, including that of his beloved wife.
Yet in the midst of this, Rinkart was a prolific hymn writer. The exact date of “Now Thank We All Our God” is in question, but it is known that it was widely sung by the time the Treaty of Westphalia was signed in 1648. It was commonly sung as a grace following meals. Since then it has become a Te Deum for Germany, sung on occasions of national thanksgiving.” (From the Center For Church Music website.)
Here is the hymn with the text included.