O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever. (Psalm 136:1)
I am privileged to be one of the guest ministers for Dial Hope
, “a 24-hour global telephone and internet ministry providing daily faith-based, non-denominational messages of encouragement, inspiration, and care.” It is headed up by a friend of mine, Joe Albright, a pastor in Florida. For yesterday’s message, Joe lifted up the author of the well-known hymn Now Thank We All Our God
. Here is what he said:
In the 1600’s, Martin Rinkert served as a pastor in the small town of Eilenburg Ger-many. In 1617 - not long after taking the post of Archdeacon, the Thirty-Years-War broke out, and his town was caught up in the fighting. In the midst of that war, the black plague swept across Europe and in 1617 hit his town hard. Over 8,000 people lost their lives and Rinkert had to bury many of them - including his own wife. Over the course of his 32 years of ministry, he experienced great violence and heartbreaking loss. Yet, in the midst of all of this, he penned the words to the inspiring hymn:
Now thank we all our God with heart and hands and voices;
Who wondrous things hath 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.
So often we look out at our world today and scoff at what we see, wondering how in the world it has all come to this. But Rinkert reminds us, from an experience easily more harsh and cruel than our own, that God’s faithfulness runs deeper than all of the circumstances of the day. May you pause this week and give thanks for the God “who from our mother’s arms has blessed us on our way, with countless gifts of love, and still is ours today.”
Happy Thanksgiving from my family to yours.