"Keeping the Hymns Close By"

Now Thank We All Our God


Author – Martin Rinkart, 1586-1649
English Translation – Catherine Winkworth, 1827- 1878
Music – Johann Cruger, 1598-1662

Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving… Psalm 147:7 (NASB)

Upon hearing the hymn, one would never realize that this paean of praise we forged during times of tragic experiences. From some of the most severe human hardships imaginable during the Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648) came this stately hymn.

Martin Rinkart, born on April 23, 1586, in Eilenberg, Saxony, Germany was the son of a poor coppersmith. He worked his way through the University of Leipzig and was ordained to the ministry. At the age of thirty-one he was called to be the pastor in his native town of Eilenberg. He arrived there just when the dreadful bloodshed was starting. Throughout these war years several waves of deadly pestilence and famine swept the city. The Rinkart home served as a refuge for the afflicted victims. The plague of 1637 was particularly server. At its height Rinkart was the only remaining minister. Yet, amazingly enough, he was a prolific writer of seven different dramatic productions on the events of the Reformation as well as a total of sixty-six hymns.

Germany is the home of Protestant church music, and no hymn, with the exception of Luther’s “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God” has been used more widely in German churches than this hymn. The fine English translation by Catherine Winkworth in 1858 has aided its popularity in the English-speaking countries as well as in Germany. Catherine is also the translator of “Praise Ye the Lord, The Almighty” (July Hymn of the Month). The majestic tune was written by one of Germany’s finest and most prolific composers, Johann Cruger. This tune with Rinkart’s text first appeared in the 1647 edition of Cruger’s hymnal.

The first stanza of this hymn is a general expression of gratitude to God for His “countless gifts of Love”. The second verse is a petition for God’s continued care and keeping, with perhaps just a suggested hint of Rinkart’s own personal hardships. The final stanza is a grand doxology of praise to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit

"For It Is God Who Works"

This book, written by Dolly Martin Monroe in 1997, chronicles the beginning of Houston's first Christian radio station. It contains barriers, obstacles, and financial difficulties through which the Lord navigated this ministry.

We invite you to read our testimony in the hope it may increase your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and His ability to provide for the needs of those who are His.

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