What shall I render to the Lord, for all His benefits to me? I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord.
Just imagine, if you can, what would happen if war, sickness, starvation, and bereavement came to your home at the same time. Long ago in 17th century that's exactly what happened in Germany to a Lutheran pastor named Martin Rinkart. War (30 Year's War) sickness (cholera) and famine (common result of war) beset the town of Eilenberg. At the start there were four clergymen, including Martin Rinkart in Eilenberg, a village of about 8000. But by the end of the war, 4500 residents, including 3 clergymen (all but Rinkart) were dead and buried. This included Rinkart's beloved wife and most of his children ...died and buried by Pastor Martin. It was on one of those dark days that Martin Rinkart wrote the following words:
Many of us might wonder how anyone could ever be thankful at such times.
Gratitude is not natural to man. Especially in the best of times, how many parents have to remind children (young and old) to say
thank you? Being conceived in sin, by nature we are thankless. And so we receive all these blessings from God with little or no thought, even taking for granted God's greater things of forgiveness and mercy. So what is God's solution? Jesus Christ, the only True Son of God, came down into a thankless world to give His life, that we might have a new life in Him. Therefore, our gratitude to God is not natural, but is a miracle. There it is...Only when God changes your heart will there ever be GODLY THANKSGIVING.
GODLY THANKSGIVING is uniquely given in view of the cross. Even when things go bad, in the midst of pain and struggle, God's people can rejoice and give thanks. We do this most of all when we come into His presence with thanksgiving, lifting up the cup of salvation in His sacrament. May the Lord help us by His Spirit and Word to receive His grace and to be His
Yours in His care and grace
~ Pastor Kelly Mitteis
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