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Martin Rinkart was a Lutheran minister who was assigned to the walled city of Eilenburg, Saxony at the beginning of the Thirty Years’ War. The city became a refuge for many fugitives, and the overcrowding led to both famine and disease. During the plague of 1637 Rinkart, the only surviving pastor in the city, conducted as many as fifty funerals in a day. In that year alone, he buried over 4,000 people, including his wife. And yet he later sat down and wrote the greatest of our Thanksgiving hymns, found on page 102 of the United Methodist Hymnal. Wishing for you a meaningful holiday and may his words bless you on this special day:

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 blessed 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.

Rev. Don Underwood