Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thanksgiving Hymn

In the late 16th Century, the Dutch fought for independence from Philip II, Romanist monarch of Spain. The Dutch won the decisive Battle of Turnhout in 1597. They lost about 100 men, while the Spanish suffered a loss of about 3000. The victory assured freedom for the Protestant population of the Netherlands.

Adrianus Valerius wrote the hymn "We Gather Together" to celebrate that victory. We often sing it at Thanksgiving without any thought to its place in our rich Christan heritage. Here are the words translated into English by Theodore Baker:

We gather together to ask the Lord’s blessing;
He chastens and hastens His will to make known.
The wicked oppressing now cease from distressing.
Sing praises to His Name; He forgets not His own.

Beside us to guide us, our God with us joining,
Ordaining, maintaining His kingdom divine;
So from the beginning the fight we were winning;
Thou, Lord, were at our side, all glory be Thine!

We all do extol Thee, Thou Leader triumphant,
And pray that Thou still our Defender will be.
Let Thy congregation escape tribulation;
Thy Name be ever praised! O Lord, make us free!

To that I add a deliberate and solemn "AMEN!"

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