Now Thank We All Our God

October 6, 2022 - 10:25am
Hymn Stories
Hymn Stories

NOW THANK WE ALL OUR GOD

For many, our closing hymn for today (“Now Thank we All our God”) brings up memories of Mass on Thanksgiving Day, followed by a family meal of turkey, dressing and cranberry sauce. A meal full of laughter, bounty and much joyfulness.

The Scriptures have over 100 references to thanksgiving – “And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (Colossians 3:17) and “In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.:(1 Thessalonians 5:18) are two that come quickly to mind.

The text of the first two verses of this hymn are based on Sirach 50:22-24 – “And now, bless the God of all, who has done wonders on earth; Who fosters growth from the womb, fashioning it according to his will! May he grant you a wise heart and abide with you in peace; May his goodness toward last forever”.

The first verse is a depicts a gracious and bountiful God who has blessed us and provided for us. The second verse of the hymn moves to the future, praying for guidance and continues to offer thanks and praise. The final verse brings the hymn to a close with a text similar to the Gloria Patri, which offers praise to the Trinity and acknowledges God’s eternal nature in the last line.

It is interesting to note that the composer of the text was a German minister whose life work was ministering to refugees during The Thirty Year’s War in Central Europe where over 5 million soldiers and civilians died as a result of battle, famine, and disease. With a vision that there is no healing without thanksgiving, he composed this hymn for the survivors. Taken in that context, the thankfulness he speaks of, and we sing of, is a thankfulness built on faith that God will provide and sustain us.

1. 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 blessed us on our way

With countless gifts of love,

And still is ours today.

 

2. O may this gracious God

Through all our life be near us!

With ever joyful hearts

And blessed peace to cheer us;

Preserve us in his grace,

And guide us in distress,

And free us from all sin,

Till heaven we possess.

 

3. All praise and thanks to God

The Father now be given,

The Son, and Spirit blest,

Who reigns in highest heaven,

Eternal, Triune God,

Whom earth and heav'n adore;

For thus it was, is now,

And shall be, evermore.

 

Text: 67 67 66 66; Sirach 50:22–24; Martin Rinkart, 1586–1649; tr. by Catherine

Winkworth, 1827–1878, alt. Music: Johann Crüger, 1598–1662; adapt. by Felix

Mendelssohn, 1809–1847, alt.

 

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