Tag Archives: Now thank we all our God

“A bummer of a Summer”

I used this phrase in a private message to a minister friend.  It was in relation to my recent fall, resulting in a dislocated shoulder & an inability to do very much, including being unable to drive my new Jaguar XE-R Sports saloon – hence being unavailable to get to various churches to “fill in” while ministers were on holiday etc.

Then I put things into perspective.

I’ll be OK again in a few weeks time (& driving the “Beast” at 140 mph – hope no polis are reading this!)

And my summer has been good: a Baltic cruise, followed by a wonderful trip to Trinidad (my home from home) for a wedding, accompanied by a delightful “plus one”

What has been truly a “bummer of a summer” (and that’s a phrase that comes nowhere near these) are the death of a 37 year old relative from cancer, a favourite niece going through divorce proceedings, a former work -colleague mourning the death of her daughter in an RTA, the euthanisation of my son’s beloved little dog….and more (including the commemoration of my wife’s death – five years ago, in June 2012)

Add (much moreso) the cruelty within and the poverty existing amongst the poorest in our society, the apparent indifference of those in authority to reach out to the most vulnerable in our country and world……and for them and more, that’s a “bummer of a summer”/ Autumn/ Winter/ Spring.

What a thankless lot so many of us have become!

Remember the old Sunday School song that we used to sing: “Count your blessings”?  Simple, even simplistic – but containing more than a germ of truth.

Do you remember the story behind the writing of that strongly defiant hymn, “Now thank we all our God”?

The author was one Martin Rinkhart who was Archdeacon in Eilenburg in Saxony in the 17th Century.

The plague of 1637 visited Eilenburg with extraordinary severity;  he buried more than 4,000 persons.

There then followed a famine so devastating that thirty or forty persons might be seen fighting in the streets for a dead cat or crow. Rinkhart, with the burgomaster and one other citizen, did what could be done to organize assistance, and gave away everything but the barest rations for his own family, so that his door was surrounded by a crowd of poor starving wretches, who found it their only refuge.

This was followed by a re-invasion by the Swedish army.  They demanded reparations, whichbRinkhat was able to negotiate.

But his own losses were so great that he had the utmost difficulty in finding bread and clothes for his children, and was forced to mortgage his future income for several years.

……..yet here is the man of faith who could write:

“Now thank we all our God……”

And, in that context, what have we to even grouse at?!!

 

Leave a comment

Filed under The Ramblings of a Reformed Ecclesiastic