Now Thank We All Our God
One of the major goals of religion is to teach people to focus gratefully on what they have instead of being aware mostly of what they don’t have.
Rabbi Harold Kushner
Saying “thank you” is one of the first lessons we learn as children. Among our earliest memories are our parent’s stern reminders to remember to say thanks for our toys, gifts, meals and all the goodies that come with childhood. Gratitude is more than remembering to say thanks, however; it is a way of looking at the world that does not change the facts of our lives but has the power to make life more manageable.
One of the best illustrations of this is the story of the Rev. Martin Rinkart. Rinkart was the pastor of the Lutheran church in his home of Eilenberg during the Thirty Years War, which devastated Germany in the early seventeenth century. Eilenberg was swamped by refugees. Famine and pestilence wrecked havoc on the overcrowded city. In 1637, when the crisis was at its peak, Rinkart, officiated at fifty funerals a day. It is estimated that he buried more than four thousand people that year, including several members of his own family. Yet, in the midst of such pain and tragedy, he wrote the hymn that is a stable of our Harvest and Thanksgiving observances:
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.
God, it has been said, has two dwelling places: one is heaven, the other in a thankful heart. On this Harvest Sunday and during the week’s Thanksgiving Day rituals, let us pray that God would give us grateful hearts.
Our Church extends an invitation to all who seek the faith of Jesus Christ; to all who enjoy the fellowship of the Church; to all who desire the friendship of the family of God, with love and justice. A special welcome if you are worshipping with us for the first time or if you are returning after a long absence. We give thanks for your presence and pray that your time with us has been a blessing.