Episcopal worship Sarasota Florida

Church of the Nativity
An Episcopal family, serving Jesus Christ and caring for one another

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Music Notes
by Karla Porter, Nativity Music Director

(From November 2004 Nativity Tidings)

Now Thank We All Our God:
The Story Behind the Thanksgiving Hymn

Once again it is that time of year whereby we take special time to thank God for His many blessings to us. The hymn Now Thank We All Our God is always appropriate to sing, but even more so around the time of Thanksgiving.

You probably didn't know that this hymn is one of the oldest hymns we sing today, datingfrom the early 1600s. Well, neither did I until I read about it in Stories of our Favorite Hymns. I was able to acquire this book during the time of the famous Father Ken Davis Book and Gift Sale table and learned that the text for this hymn was written by Pastor Martin Rinkart (1586-1649); for most of his life, the Thirty Years' War raged in Germany.

To give you some perspective on what king of a man Martin Rinkart was, the story goes that he was the last pastor in his area (all others had fled) and he ministered to refugess and the sick and dying (including burying his own wife). When a conquering general demanded a levy impossible for the starving citizens to pay, Rinkart led his friends in prayer on their hands and knees in front of this general seeking refuge in God — they had no other hope. The general was so moved that he reduced the levy to less than a 20th of the original sum.

Rinkart's Now Thank We All Our God began as a blessing for food before meals. It ended up being sung (set to music by Johann GCruger) as a national thanksgiving when the Thirty Years' War terminated (1648). Please take a look at the text of hymn 396. Perhaps we can all use it as a special Thanksgiving prayer this year.

And thank you to all who responded to the request for favorite hymns and psalms ... information on the responses will be provided next month.

Karla Porter
Music Director

See previous Music articles from our Newsletter:
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Artist rendering of Episcopal Church of the Nativity - Sarasota
Church of the Nativity
An Episcopal Family serving Jesus Christ and caring for one another
Office hours: Monday through Friday, 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM
5900 N. Lockwood Ridge Sarasota, Florida 34243-2523
Phone (941)355-3262 Fax (941)358-8930 In emergency: (941) 356-3497

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