Now Thank We All our God

A 17th century German pastor buried dozens of his parishioners every day during the “Thirty Years War” which devastated Europe. Millions of civilians and soldiers died as a result of war, disease, and economic depression during these decades of horror and difficulty.

During this painful and seemingly unending conflict, Martin Rinkart wrote this simple prayer of blessing for his children:

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 mother’s arms, hath led us on our way, with countless gifts of love, and still is ours today.

These beautiful words, penned in 1636, were put to music and can be found in our Sanctuary hymnal. It’s the first stanza of a song of gratitude based not upon circumstances but rather upon God’s character and faithfulness. For centuries, these words have encouraged and inspired us as the people of God.

We are in the last months of the calendar year, and from a church standpoint that means we’re entering an increased level of activity relating to the holiday season. This is a great time to get back in the habit of in person worship, fellowship, and Bible study. Let’s be thankful for what we’ve been given and the freedom we have to gather together.

November also signals that we are close to ending the fiscal year as well. Your regular, faithful, financial support through tithes and offerings is critical to our making a significant impact in our community and beyond. We’re in this together, so let’s do our best to finish the year on strong financial footing.

It’s remarkable that Rinkart could find the mental and spiritual fortitude to be grateful during that time. His example is important and timely for our church. I’m keenly aware of the sadness we’ve experienced through death and difficulty as well as the joy and excitement that bubbles over with newborns coming into the world. All these life experiences are shared in our life together as the family of faith known as First Baptist Church.

Thanksgiving is upon us. The natural beauty of East Tennessee is a wonderful incentive and reminder of God’s presence. Gratitude is an antidote for worry, so let’s remember the words of the Apostle Paul: “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks to God in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (I Thess. 5.18).

Remember, “life is a gift.” –DC

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