Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
His love endures forever.
Martin Rinkart was a Lutheran Pastor living in the besieged city of Eilenberg in Germany during the Thirty Years War. Inspite of his frail physique, he stayed there throughout the war, enduring the terrors of famine and plague. Even when all the other pastors died, he ministered to the sick and dying. He conducted 4,500 funerals, including that of his wife.
Towards the end of the war, the city was overrun. The Swedish general demanded a vast levy from the city’s already desperate citizens. Martin pleaded with him in vain. So he turned to his friends and said, ‘Come, my children; we can find no mercy with this man - let us take refuge with God’. The general was so moved by the sight of seeing the pastor and the people praying and singing on their knees that he relented and reduced the sum to a mere fraction of what was originally demanded.
Martin Rinkart then wrote the famous hymn, ‘Now Thank We all Our God’ which includes the verse:
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.
Our situation is nowhere near as bad as that faced by Martin Rinkart - how much more do we have to thank God for?
Thank God for:
- This opportunity to reflect on the glory and grace of God in Christ, spending more time with him in his Word and prayer.
- His faithfulness which is new every morning.
- His sovereignty - working his eternal purposes out in his world
- The gift of modern medicine and science
- The fruit of the Spirit to be produced in us
- The care of the frail and vulnerable
- The doctors and nurses and the health service that they will be able to deal with the crisis.
- The government to be given wisdom and courage
- Our fellowship to deepen through this time.
Your pastor and friend