I teach music at a private school here in Raleigh. One of the things I do each month is expose my students to hymns of our faith that have often been forgotten. Now, this post is not going to be a diatribe on hymns or choruses or anything like that---BUT, it's context---SO, moving on....I was introducing our November hymn today. We are learning "Now Thank We All Our God" by Martin Rinkart (1586-1649). I was telling them about Rinkart's life and his inspiration for writing this hymn. He was the German pastor of a church in Eilenburg during the Thirty Years War. So many within the walls of the city were killed or they died because of famine or the plague. He was finally the only pastor left and conducted up to 50 funeral services a day. I can only imagine that he was exhausted and depressed during these days. Yet, when the warring subsided, he wrote this hymn:
He wrote a song of thanksgiving after living this insane life he was living. As I spoke to my students about this hymn, I couldn't help but think of 1 Thessalonians 5:18 that teaches us to "give thanks in all circumstances"...and not just that, but "for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." I was careful to say to my students that it doesn't say "give thanks FOR all circumstances, but give thanks IN all circumstances."WOW----this is a humbling piece of scripture.
- Now thank we all our God
- With hearts and hands and voices;
- Who wondrous things hath done,
- In whom this world rejoices.
- Who, from our mother's arms,
- Hath led us on our way,
- With countless gifts of love,
- And still is ours today.
I recently shared with a dear friend that I have just come to the place where I can truly say I am thankful for my circumstances. They have changed me. I am not the same person I was before I walked through this life---and I hope to keep growing and changing and accepting my circumstances. So, for Day 5---I am grateful for how a loving Heavenly Father uses his word and my own life to mold me into the person he sees in me. And I am thankful for my circumstances. This is a gift!