Thanksgiving Thoughts 2022

Transplanted seedlings we were once 
Or perhaps some started here
In this valley verdant green
With rivers, mountains, trees and streams

Deserts near for those who would
Leave this vale where they did start
Planting new shoots far away
In climes calling to their hearts

Yet our roots are intertwined
No matter how far they have grown
Not seas nor land nor death itself
Have severed ties so deeply sown

Such gratitude this thankful time
Memories sweet and hard too
This treasured gift our heritage
Plus blessed gift of life with you

Like the spreading aspen grove
Whose roots entwined grow far and wide
Would our roots, our legacy
Bring new growth, our best abide

May the Love that has upheld
Good we’ve known along the way
Guard and keep dear family, friends
Now, tomorrow, every day


“Now thank we all our God
With heart and hand and voices…”


The hymn “Now thank we all our God” was written in 1636 by Martin Rinkart, later translated by Catherine Winkworth:

1 Now thank we all our God
with heart and hands and voices,
who wondrous things has 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.

2 O may this bounteous God
through all our life be near us,
with ever joyful hearts
and blessed peace to cheer us,
to keep us in his grace,
and guide us when perplexed,
and free us from all ills
of this world in the next.

3 All praise and thanks to God
the Father now be given,
the Son and Spirit blest,
who reign in highest heaven
the one eternal God,
whom heaven and earth adore;
for thus it was, is now,
and shall be evermore.
(Psalter Hymnal (Gray), 1987)

Martin Rinkart (1586-1649) was the Bishop of Eilenberg, Germany during the Thirty Years' War. Since Eilenberg was a walled city it became a place of refuge for fugitives of the war, and also a place of famine and disease due to overcrowding. In 1637 at the height of their misery, Rinkart was the only clergyman left in the city who could perform the 40 or 50 necessary burial services daily -- one of which was for his wife. As if that weren't enough, the city was sacked three times by invaders, one of which imposed a large tribute payment upon the people. During this time, Rinkart managed to find the time to write 7 dramas and 66 hymns.
The hymn "Nun danket alle Gott" was originally titled "Tisch-Gebetlein," or a "little prayer before the meal." This humble prayer of thanksgiving is laid out simply and beautifully in the first verse, but it's the next two verses that expand the hymn's focus and have given it its lasting appeal. You can see the Thirty Years' War pressing on his mind in verse two:
And keep us in His grace, And guide us when perplexed, And free us from all ills In this world and the next.
After a verse of thanks, and a verse that asks for strength during the trials of life, he ends with a paraphrase of the doxology as if to say, "The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away, may the name of the Lord be praised." --Greg Scheer, 1995

Notes and hymn copied from

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