This post appeared Nov.22, 2012 on Pastor Mark’s blog


Now thank we all our God

The famous hymn of thanksgiving below was written by Martin Rinkart, a Lu­ther­an pastor who served his hometown of Eil­en­burg, Sax­o­ny, dur­ing the Thir­ty Years’ War. The walled ci­ty of Eil­en­burg saw a stea­dy stream of re­fu­gees pour through its gates. The Swed­ish ar­my sur­round­ed the ci­ty, and fa­mine and plague were ramp­ant. Eight hund­red homes were de­stroyed, and the peo­ple be­gan to per­ish. Pastor Rinkart’s wife was among the dead. There was a tre­men­dous strain on the pas­tors who had to con­duct do­zens of fun­er­als dai­ly. Fi­nal­ly, the pas­tors, too, suc­cumbed and Rink­art was the on­ly one left—doing 40-50 fun­er­als a day. When the Swedes de­mand­ed a huge ran­som, Rink­art left the safe­ty of the walls to plead for mer­cy. The Swed­ish com­mand­er, im­pressed by his faith and cour­age, low­ered his de­mands. When it was all over, 4,800 people had died.


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.



Martin Rinkart has left the world a story, and a hymn, that testify to the faith and joy that are deeper and more enduring than the passing shades of happiness, stronger than suffering and death. Martin was not able to do what he did because he was great. He carried the burdens of so many, together with his own – with joy and thanksgiving in his heart – because he had a great Lord.


“May the peace of God that passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord.”