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 mothers’ arms has blessed us on our way
With countless gifts of love, and still is ours today.
O may this bounteous God through all our life be near us,
With ever joyful hearts and blessèd peace to cheer us;
And keep us in His grace, and guide us when perplexed;
And free us from all ills, in this world and the next!
All praise and thanks to God the Father now be given;
The Son and Him Who reigns with Them in highest Heaven;
The one eternal God, whom earth and Heaven adore;
For thus it was, is now, and shall be evermore.
Words by Martin Rinkart, 1636
Music by Johann Cruger, 1647
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.
Let us lift up our hearts and our hands to God in heaven
Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.
The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.
let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.
From the time we are young our parents taught us to say, Thank you. These two simple words communicate so much. When we receive something, a gift, a compliment, a favor, we say it. It is a way of expressing appreciation for things we receive.
But more often than not it seems to simply be an after thought. Something we casually throw out because it is the cultural norm. We don’t stop to think about what we are saying, so in the end it has not real meaning. But then there are those time, though they may be few and far between, that the words are genuine and heart-felt. They do not come close to relaying the gratitude that is felt and so their meaning carries a profound depth. This is the theme of Martin Rinkart’s, “Now Thank We All Our God.”
Starting with the opening line of the hymn, “Now thank we all our God,” we are drawn in to see our need to express thankfulness to God. We “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.” (Psalm 118:1) We give thanks for what He has done. A thankfulness that is not simply expressed in words but comes from our full being. So Rinkart writes, “with heart and hands and voices.” reflecting the words of Jeremiah in Lamentations 3:41 where we read, “Let us lift up our hearts and our hands to God in heaven.”
Yes, we are to express our deepest gratitude to him. Gratitude to a God “who wondrous things has done, in Whom this world rejoices.” We rejoice in God, “who from our mothers’ arms has blessed us on our way. With countless gifts of love, and still is ours today.” He has always and will always be there. He alone is our source of joy and true hope.
When we honestly stop to reflect, there is so much that God has given us for which we are grateful. When we stop to realize this, we cannot help but pray that His blessings do not end. This is why Rinkart writes, “O may this bounteous God through all our life be near us.” We pray that God will not leave us and we can rest confidently in the knowledge that, “he will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6)
So we thank God for all he has done. We thank Him for his blessings. We thank him that he will always remain near to us. We lift our voice up to him with “All praise and thanks to God the Father . . . The Son and Him Who reigns with Them in highest Heaven.
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