A HYMN OF JOY AND THANKSGIVING
During the Thirty Years’ War (1620 to 1648) the little town of Eilenburg in Saxony suffered severely. It was sacked by Austrians and Swedes. The influx of refugees brought crowding and the plague visited their town four times during the 28 years. Only one pastor survived it all and he sometimes had to conduct funerals for 50 persons in one day. Famine left its mark. When the news of the Peace of Westphalia came the Elector of Saxony ordered Thanksgiving Services to be held and gave the preachers throughout the land a text from Ecclesiasticus 50:22, “Now bless ye the God of all, Who everywhere doeth great things, Who exalteth our days from the womb and dealeth with us according to His mercy. May he grant us joyful hearts, and may peace be in our days forever.” Pastor Martin Rinkart was struck by the power of the text and pondered it and shaped the sentiments into a hymn…
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