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 mother’s arms

Has blessed us on our way

With countless gifts of love

And still is ours today.

Martin Rinkart and his wife arrived in Eilenburg, Saxony at some time during the 30 Year’s War (1618 -1648). He was a Lutheran minister who believed in living out his calling to serve the poor and needy.  As many fugitives found refuge in the walled city of Saxony, the Rinkarts did their best to provide food and shelter to the many in need. In 1637, during a plague caused by overcrowding in the city, Rev. Rinkart performed over 4,000 funerals including the funeral of his own wife. (Information from Wikipedia)

And yet … Martin Rinkart is the author of the familiar hymn Now Thank We All Our God, whose first verse is quoted above. He wrote many other hymns and poems as well.  The words of his writings resonate with joy and gratitude to God. Having lived through the trauma of our recent pandemic, I cannot begin to imagine the horrors of a simultaneous plague and war.  Martin not only kept his faith alive, but found beauty and gratitude for God’s blessings among the bleakest of times. How is that possible?  Certainly, God’s grace and ever-abiding presence helped Martin through the unimaginable. But, I also believe that Martin had cultivated a well-established habit of expressing gratitude in all circumstances – not because of the hardships, but in spite of them.

My cousin’s wife, Bonnie, is dealing with a very persistent form of cancer. She has been fighting this devil of a disease for well over a year now. Each Sunday on her Caring Bridge sharing platform, she lists ten things for which she is grateful. She calls it her Gratitude Sunday list.  I look forward to her list each Sunday!  In spite of crappy weeks of treatments and complications, she always produces the most joyous of lists on Sundays. Other posts within each week may reflect anger, frustration, anxiety, and pain – but she purposely pauses to find, and thank God, for the good in her surroundings and circumstances.

In 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 it says “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”  In spite of whatever challenges face us this week, may we find gratitude within each day. What will fill your “gratitude list” this week?


Diana Kongkeattikul