Now Thank We All Our God

Now thank we all our God With hearts and hands and voices, Who wondrous things has done, In whom His world rejoices

On Thanksgiving it’s traditional to sing the hymn “Now Thank We All Our God” by Martin Rinckart, a Lutheran pastor from the 17th century. This hymn reminds us that thanksgiving isn’t merely about being “thankful” or “counting your blessings,” but is about giving thanks, out loud, to someone, for something. In the hymn, we sing and give thanks to God for all His benefits to us. Here is the text of the hymn:

Now thank we all our God
With hearts and hands and voices,
Who wondrous things has done,
In whom His world rejoices;
Who from our mothers’ arms
Has blest us on our way
With countless gifts of love
And still is ours today.

Oh, 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 heav’n adore;
For thus it was, is now,
And shall be evermore.

Johann Sebastian Bach wrote several arrangements of this hymn. He wrote one arrangement for a Reformation Day cantata (BWV 79, here’s a video of this hymn from the cantata). He wrote another arrangement for weddings (BWV 252, video with moving score). He also did an arrangement of it as a chorale prelude, one of his Great Eighteen Chorale Preludes (BWV 657, here’s a video from the Netherlands Bach Society, whose channel could singlehandedly justify the existence of YouTube). By the way, “BWV” stands for Bach-Werke-Verzeichnis in German, translated “Bach works catalogue” in English. Every work of Bach has a BWV number for easy reference.

Here’s a PDF of the hymn, with music. Feel free to print it and sing it around the dinner table.

Oh, give thanks unto the Lord, for He is good, for His mercy endureth forever!

In Christ,
Pastor Richard

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