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Monday, October 22, 2012

Some Favorites

 The Thanksgiving Season always gets me thinking about good hymns.

1. Nun danket alle Gott
Mit Herzen, Mund und Händen,
Der große Dinge tut
An uns und allen Enden,
Der uns von Mutterleib
Und Kindesbeinen an
Unzählig viel zu gut
Bis hier her hat getan. 

2. Der ewig reiche Gott
Woll uns bei unsrem Leben
Ein immer fröhlich Herz
Und edlen Frieden geben,
Und uns in seiner Gnad,
Erhalten fort und fort
Und uns aus aller Not
Erlösen hier und dort.

3. Lob, Ehr und Preis sei Gott,
Dem Vater und dem Sohne
Und dem, der beiden gleich
Im höchsten Himmelsthrone,
Dem einig höchsten Gott,
Als er anfänglich war
Und ist und bleiben wird
Jetzt und immerdar.

1. Now thank we all our God
With heart and hands and voices,
Who wondrous things hath done,
In whom his world rejoices;
Who from our mother's arms
Hath blessed us on our way
With countless gifts of love,
And still is ours today.

2. 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.

3. 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.

M. Rinkart, 1586-1649 - trans. C. Winkworth, 1827-1878

Here’s a good one for the Thanksgiving season.

Martin Rinkart was a Lutheran pastor from Saxony.  During the 
Thirty Years’ War, his village suffered the depredations of both
 the Imperial and  Swedish armies—and this in the days when armies
 lived by pillaging.  Worse, the plague visited the town, and carried 
off more than half the population,  including Rinkart’s wife and several
of his numerous children.  Prior to these disasters, Rinkart had a 
 reputation for helping the poor and sick in 
his community.

Johann Sebastian Bach played around with the original tune—as he
did with so many other tunes used by the Lutheran churches in the 
German lands (there was no Germany then; only a welter of statelets
called the Holy Roman Empire).

Catherine Winkworth was a 19th century English translator of the older
German hymnody.

This hymn has always left a deep impression on me, due to the fact that
even when I live a blessed life, I tend to be a complainer.  Yet then I think
of poor Brother Rinkart having a rough life during an exceptionally rough 
time in history, yet somehow he managed to make beautiful music unto
the Lord.

Here’s another Thanksgiving favorite that might have been sung by the 
Plymouth colonists themselves.  It’s the 100th Psalm in metrical version. 
The Puritans, after all, and most Reformed churches,originally  limited their
hymnody to metrical versions of the Psalms and other Scriptural material 
(such as the Lord's Prayer, Song of Zachariah, and Magnificat). Some of 
you may know the tune as a Doxology.

1. All people that on earth do dwell,
Sing to the Lord with cheerful voice;
Him serve with mirth, his praise forth tell,
Come ye before him, and rejoice.

2. The Lord, ye know, is God indeed,
Without our aid he did us make;
We are his folk, he doth us feed,
And for his sheep he doth us take.

3. O enter then his gates with praise,
Approach with joy his courts unto;
Praise, laud, and bless his name always,
For it is seemly so to do.

4. For why? the Lord our God is good:
His mercy is for ever sure;
His truth at all times firmly stood,
And shall from age to age endure.

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