Pastor Lance Wetter
Special Message: March 19, 2020 on the
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New Messenger posted
Due to the Covid-19 virus we will moving church to a virtual church! We will not have any events at the church or in person effective immediately! This will remain in effect until further notice. Please visit this website and our Facebook Page for updated information.
Sermons will be uploaded to YouTube and a link will be posted here for you to find them. Also look for other daily, weekly, and monthly posts, and writings to help keep your walk with Christ strong. Please do not look at this time as wasted time, but rather as a blessing that gives you the time to dig deeper into God’s Word and draw you closer. The saying goes, idle hands are the Devil’s tools, let’s keep ourselves busy worshipping and praising God through this unprecedented time of self-isolation.
We will have the hard copies printed and mailed for all those who request one
Now Thank We All Our God, March 19, 2020
I want to tell you a story of a very little-known Pastor from Germany. His name is Martin Rinkart. He has a remarkable story and is most well remembered as a songwriter. There is a hymn is our UMC hymnal I believe it is number 102. It is entitled “Now Thank We All Our God,” and it is a hymn used for the thanksgiving season. Below I have two links to YouTube so that you can listen to this song. I encourage you to do this before you read down below, it will make more sense and give more meaning if you do. I also posted the Lyrics of this song, so that you could understand it better.
https://youtu.be/ItfKjxkXhMk This is a cathedral churchy version!
https://youtu.be/Ecqss2ZvN2c this is an acoustic version!
Now Thank We All Our God, by Martin Rinkart
Now thank we all our God, with heart and hands and voices,
Who wondrous things has done, in Whom this world rejoices;
Who from our mothers’ arms has blessed 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 guard us through all ills in this world, till 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.
Now I hope you have listened to the song or at least read the lyrics. If you watched the churchy version with the fancy smancy cathedral, I think the words of this song will be even more poignant. This song is a great song of Thankfulness but who was the author and what did he have to be so thankful of? How awesome was his life to write a song that would tell all the people to thank God, what wonderous things he (God) has done, to bless the world, with countless gifts of love, from our mother’s arms he has blessed us, and all thanks be to God the Father now be given! Man, his life must have easy and without trials, right? Listening to the song he wrote that he is remembered by, makes you wish you had a life like his doesn’t it?
Well let me tell you about Martin Rinkart and his story. At age 31 he was given the job of Archdeacon, in his hometown of Eilenburg Germany. He had been rejected for it 7 years earlier. Now he was good enough for the job. This all took place back around 1617-1649. As soon as he returned home as a preacher, the 30-year war broke out between the Swedes and the Germans. As a pastor he was neutral and had to deal with troops living in his own home and plundering and pillaging everything in the town. This was life, for almost 20 years but it was normal, war, theft, death. Then in 1637 the Plague hit their town. The town of Eilenburg was grossly overpopulated because of an influx of prisoners escaping and taking refuge in the city during the war. Now on top of the plague came extreme famine with one story surviving of 40 people fighting in the streets for a dead cat or a crow to eat.
With the plague, the war, and the famine taking place at the same time in one year 8000 plus people died. Martin was doing the funeral rites for 40-50 people a day, and at the end of one-year Martin had officiated funerals for over 4400 people! Now out of those 4,400 deaths the 4 other Pastors died, and his wife. Martin gave away all but the least amount of rations to feed his own family, and his front door is where the starving sat and waited for his mercy. By the end of his life and the 30-year war, Martin had mortgaged his own income for several years out, and found it difficult to find bread or clothes for his own surviving children. Close to year after the war ended Martin died. Yet throughout all of this his spirit was never broke as he penned the words to that Hymn “Now Thank We All Our God.”
What did he have to be thankful for? How could a man who gave so much of his own life in service to others suffer so much and still remain thankful? How is it that after 30 plus years of war, violence, starvation, death, and financial ruin could Martin say, “Now Thank We All Our God?”
I can’t answer this for him, but I am quite confident it had something to do with Joy and Grace. You know right now we are in unprecedented times. How many of us have ever lived through a pandemic or anything like this? Not many of us. This is new territory to us, and many of us don’t like it. We don’t like being told that we need to sit still and do nothing. Stay home and stay away from people. You see we want to do whatever we want to do. We call it “Freedom of Expression,” here in the states. We figure we get to live once and were gonna live it how we want to.
I recently watched a video of some college kids on Spring Break partying it up, and one of them said “if I get Coronavirus, then I get it, so what?” I can’t help but think if he would feel different if his mother’s life was taken from the disease? Or perhaps if he knew if he spread the disease and an infant who then died all because of his need to fulfill his Freedom to Express himself? You see what we learn about Martin Rinkart’s life is that we are not to be selfish. We are not to be focused on us. You see his life shown that willingness to serve!
We are frustrated with this mild inconvenience that we are asked to endure called social distancing. We act like it is the end of the world, because we have been asked to stay home sit on our butt and watch Netflix. Let me ask you were is the gratitude? Where is our gratefulness as a nation? Where is our thankfulness of the goodness God has given us? Think of Martin. His home was being attacked in an active war with his people in his hometown being killed. Are you afraid your house will be invaded, and your family members killed by an invading army? What about food? Sure, the shelves are bare at Walmart and going number 2 could get interesting but were not starving. We live in the land of plenty. Now I know some of us are worried about finances, and trust me I get it, this will pinch us all, including the church, we still need offerings, but were not mortgaging our income! In fact, we are so blessed that we live in a country where they are finding ways to keep us in our homes, keep our children fed, and even giving us money to get us through this mild inconvenience! Thank God I’m an American!
I want you to think about the churchy YouTube video I asked you to watch or maybe even re-watch it again, and think how many of those people who were singing this hymn of thanks would actually being saying thank you if they lived through what the author of the hymn did? I challenge you to sit this virus out and be thankful to God for all that he has blessed you with. Perspective changes everything, Martin had an eternal mindset when he wrote, “Now Thank We All Our God,” and I challenge you to have an eternal mindset too during these uncertain times of mild inconvenience. Sit tight and thank God for all your blessings. You now have the time on your hands, use it to praise God!