A View From The Vicarage, September
Now Thank We All Our God
As you read this the long dry summer days are drawing to a close and the chillier notes of autumn begin to make their presence felt. I always find that whether or not we find ourselves enjoying an Indian Summer September nights are always there to remind us that alongside the equinox the seasons are noticeably changing.
Considering the summer that we have enjoyed or is it endured, I’m confident that the cooler, crisper and doubtless wetter days of autumn may be for many an occasion of quiet rejoicing and maybe some relief.
As we embark on those autumn days our minds inevitably turn towards Harvest Festival. I wonder how those celebrations will seem this year with the continuing uncertainties over Brexit and a summer growing season which may have been the delight for holiday makers and hoteliers but has for many of our farmers been challenging to say the least.
I sometimes wonder if the subtext for many of our harvest celebrations is thanksgiving and relief that although it may have been bad at least it wasn’t worse!
But let’s view all of this through the lens of Martin Rinkart. In 1663 during the carnage and suffering of the thirty years war Rinkard was pastor of Eilenburg in Germany. Refugees had flooded into the city and problems of overcrowding, starvation and plague had become endemic. By 1637 the other four pastors in the city had all fled leaving Rinkart to struggle on alone. It is calculated that during the one year of 1637 he conducted some 5000 funerals; often fifty a day.
Yet in the midst of all that disaster and chaos; Rinkart sat down and wrote a table grace for his children:
“Now thank we all our God
With hearts 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”
What was true amidst the calamities of Germany in 1637 remains true amidst the uncertainties of Brexit and will continue to remain true until the end of time. So we can sing “Now thank we all our God” with the same gusto.
With my love and prayers as always