This classic, soaring hymn was written in the mid-1600s by a German minister named Martin Rinkart. His ministry began at a church in Eilenburg, just as the Thirty Year War began. The town soon became overpopulated and disease ridden with many taking refuge in the pastor’s house. A deadly plaque swept through the village, killing 8,000 people including Rinkart’s wife. At one point, the beleaguered minister was conducting 50 funerals per day.
Yet, in the midst of it all, Martin Rinkart wrote this hymn, originally designed to be used for grace before dinner. It was later put to music and sung to celebrate the end of the war.
If Thanksgiving had an official hymn, it would be NOW THANK WE ALL OUR GOD: