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Appreciating Our Lutheran Hymns

Now Thank We All our God

A Hymn of Worship and Praise

#36 in The Lutheran Hymnal

My parents used to have a couple of record albums of a comedy act called “The Bickersons.” It was an early “sitcom” of a husband (John) and his wife (Blanche) “bickering” in various scenes of married life. One line I remember that was repeated by each of them during one episode: “You say it, but you won’t do it. Do it NOW!”

“Do it now.” What better words to keep in mind when it comes to thanking our Lord! Spending time in thanking God all too easily gets relegated to one special day a year (maybe Sunday mornings too?).

Often we are still like those ten lepers; no doubt they all FELT appreciative, but only one DID something about it and came back to thank Jesus.

Do it NOW. When is “now”? Isn’t it whenever you have something to thank God for? And isn’t that all the time?

This month’s hymn has helped to that end in that it has been used for giving thanks on many occasions. According to The Handbook to the Lutheran Hymnal, this hymn was originally published in 1636 in a booklet by Martin Rinckart.

It was intended to be used as a table prayer. But then on December 10, 1648 it was sung to celebrate the Peace of Westphalia, which marked the end of the Thirty Years War.

We use it at Thanksgiving time. But that is certainly not all.

All twenty-four hours of the day give us opportunity to thank God for the “wondrous things” He has done, including that He “hath blessed us . . . with countless gifts of love.” We thank Him because we know He will “keep us in His grace, And guide us when perplexed, And free us from all ills In this world and the next.”

Don’t save your giving of thanks to God for later. Later may never come. Do it now! “NOW thank we all our God . . . !”

–Pastor Paul Krause