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Feast of Martin Rinckart (April 23)   Leave a comment

Above:  Martin Rinckart

Image in the Public Domain

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MARTIN RINCKART (APRIL 23, 1586-DECEMBER 8, 1649)

German Lutheran Minister and Hymn Writer

Also known as Martin Rinckart

Martin Rinckart comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via hymnody.

Rinckart became a Lutheran minister.  He, born in Eilenburg, Saxony, on April 23, 1586, was a son of Georg Rinckart, a cooper.  Our saint studied at the Latin school in Eilenburg.  Next, he studied (on scholarship) at St. Thomas’s School, Leipzig, and sang in the church choir, starting in November 1601.  Rinckart also became a theological student at the University of Leipzig in 1602.  He remained in that city until he completed this degree.  Our saint served as the schoolmaster in Eisleben and the cantor at St. Nicholas’s Church from June 1610 to May 1611.  Then he served as the deacon of St. Anne’s Church, Eisleben, from May 1611 to December 1613.  Next, Rinckart became the pastor at Erdeborn and Lyttichendorf, near Eisleben, in December 1613.  Finally, in November 1617, he became the Archdeacon of Eilenburg.

Rinckart also composed drams and hymn texts.  He wrote plays for the centennial of the Protestant Reformation in 1617.  Some of his hymns have, via translators, become part of English-language hymnody.  The most enduring of these texts has been Nun danket alle Gott (1636), which Catherine Winkworth (1829-1878) rendered as “Now Thank We All Our God” in 1858.  Some of the less popular English translations of hymn texts by Rinckart have included “Where Shall the Weary Find,” “Let All Men Praise the Lord,” and “Grant Majesty Above, of Prayer None Else.”

Nun danket alle Gott, (Now thank we all our God,)

Mit Herzen, Mund und Händen, (With heart, and hands, and voices,)

Der grosse Dinge tut (Who wondrous things hath done,)

An uns und allen Enden; (In whom His world rejoices;)

Der uns von Mutterleib (Who from our mothers’ arms)

Und Kindesbeinen an (Hath blest us on our way)

Unzählig veil zu gut (With countless gifts of love,)

Bis hieher hat getan. (And still is ours today.)

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Der ewig reiche Gott (O may this bounteous God)

Woll’ uns bei unserm Leben (Through all our life be near us,)

Wein immer frölich Herz (With ever joyful hearts)

Und edlen Frieden geben, (And blessed peace to cheer us;)

Und uns in seiner Gnad’ (To keep us in His grace,)

Erhalten fort und fort (And guide us when perplexed,)

Und uns aus aller Not (And free us from all ills)

Erlösen hier und dort. (In this world and the next.)

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Lob, Ehr’ und Preis sei Gott, (All praise and thanks to God,)

Dem Vater und dem Sohne, (The Father, now be given,)

Und dem, der beiden gleich (The Son, and Him who reigns)

Im höchsten Himmelsthrone: (With them in highest heaven,)

Ihm, dem dreiein’ gen Gott, (The One Eternal God,)

Wie es im Anfang war, (Whom earth and heaven adore;)

Und ist und bleiben wird (For thus it was, is now,)

Jetzund und immerdar! (And shall be evermore.)

Eilenburg suffered greatly during the Thirty Years’ War (1618-1848).  It was a walled city, so many wartime refugees sought shelter there.  Eilenburg became overcrowded.  Swedish forces captured the walled city and demanded a high ransom.  Rinckart negotiated with the Swedish commander.  After the first negotiation proved unsuccessful, our saint returned to his church and urged people to pray.  Then he negotiated again and saved the city.  The city’s leaders did not thank him.  The overcrowded walled city became the site of a pestilence in 1637.  About 8000 people, including our saint’s first wife, died.  Rinckart conducted 4,480 funerals.  The war broke our saint physically .

Rinckart died in Eilenburg on December 8, 1649.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 8, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE SECOND SUNDAY IN LENT, YEAR A

THE FEAST OF EDWARD KING, BISHOP OF LINCOLN

THE FEAST OF FRED B. CRADDOCK, U.S. DISCIPLES OF CHRIST MINISTER, BIBLICAL SCHOLAR, AND RENOWNED PREACHER

THE FEAST OF GEOFFREY STUDDERT KENNEDY, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF JOHN HAMPDEN GURNEY, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOHN OF GOD, FOUNDER OF THE BROTHERS HOSPITALLERS OF SAINT JOHN OF GOD

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Heavenly Father, shepherd of your people, we thank you for your servant Martin Rinckart,

who was faithful in the care and nurture of your flock;

and we pray that, following his example and the teaching of his holy life,

we may by your grace grow into the full stature of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Ezekiel 34:11-16 or Acts 20:17-35

Psalm 84

1 Peter 5:1-4 or Ephesians 3:14-21

John 21:15-17 or Matthew 24:42-47

–Adapted from the Lutheran Book of Worship (1978), 38

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