March 14, 2020
Greetings to all,
We are in the midst of a phone, email, internet push to get the word out regarding the decision of the Metropolitan (Archbishop Anne) and clarified by the Diocesan Bishop (Andrew).
Please inform those you know that would be interested that:
1) Starting –and until further notice–, all worship services are cancelled.
2) Midweek groups will be cancelled for this week and we shall re-evaluate by this time next week.
3) All this information is available on our website including the letters from the Bishops.
4) it is my intention to continue to post sermons on the YouTube site.
5) I have been prompted to start a blog but will need a little help to get same going.
Please be in touch with your questions and concerns at this email or call 705-794-9140.
At this time I am reminded or Pastor Martin Rinckart
Born: April 23, 1586 – Leipzig, Saxony, Germany
Died: December 8, 1649 – Eilenburg, Saxony, Germany
Martin Rinckart [Rinkart] was one of those provincial clergymen to whom Germany had so much reason to be grateful. The son of a poor copper smith, he made his way at the University of Leipzig by dint of industry and his musical gifts, took orders, and was deacon of the church at Eisleben.
At the age of thirty-one was offered the place of Archdeacon at his native town of Eilenburg in Saxony. He went there as the war broke out, and died just after the peace, and throughout these thirty-one years he stood by his flock, and helped them to the utmost under every kind of distress. Of course he had to endure the quartering of soldiers in his house, and frequent plundering of his little stock of grain and household goods. But these were small things.
The plague of 1637 visited Eilenburg with extraordinary severity; the town was overcrowded with fugitives from the country districts where the Swedes had been spreading devastation, and in this one year 8,000 persons died in it. The whole of the town council except three persons, a terrible number of school children, and the clergymen of the neighbouring parish, were all carried off; and Rinckart had to do the work of three clergy, and did it manfully at the beds of the sick and dying. He buried more than 4,000 persons, but through all his labours he himself remained perfectly well. The pestilence was followed by a famine so extreme that thirty or forty persons might be seen fighting in the streets for a dead cat or crow. Rinckart, 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.
After all this suffering came the Swedes once more, and imposed upon the unhappy town a tribute of 30,000 dollars. Rinckart ventured to the camp to entreat the general for mercy, and when it was refused, turned to the citizens who followed him, saying, “Come, my children, we can find no hearing, no mercy with men, let us take refuge with God.” He fell on his knees, and prayed with such touching earnestness that the Swedish general relented, and lowered his demand at last to 2,000 florins. So great were Rinckart’s own losses and charities 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 how little his spirit was broken by all these calamities is shown by his best known hymn “Nun danket alle Gott” and others that he wrote; some indeed speaking of his country’s sorrows, but all breathing the same spirit of unbounded trust and readiness to give thanks. He composed this simple but noble expression of trust and praise, when the hope of a general peace was dawning on the country. This hymn was set to music by Johann Crüger about 1647. It is among those selected by C. Winkworth for translation into English, and became known in the English hymnal world as as “Now thank we all our God”
1 Now thank we all our God
with heart and hands and voices,
who wondrous things has done,
in whom His world rejoices;
who from our mothers’ arms
has blessed us on our way
with countless gifts of love,
and still is ours today.
2 O may this bounteous God
through all our life be near us,
with ever joyful hearts
and blessed peace to cheer us,
to keep us in His grace,
and guide us when perplexed,
and free us from all ills
of this world in the next.
3 All praise and thanks to God
the Father now be given,
the Son and Spirit blest,
who reign in highest heaven
the one eternal God,
whom heaven and earth adore;
for thus it was, is now,
and shall be evermore.
Pray for those sick and suffering with Covid-19, those treating them and researchers, those with undue anxiety regarding the pandemic. (The second verse of the hymn especially verse 2 is a prayer.)
This too is a prayer worth committing to memory:
A Prayer of the Optina Elders
O Lord, grant me strength to meet with serenity everything forthcoming today.
Grant me to submit completely to Your holy will.
At every hour of this day guide and support me in all things.
Whatever news may reach me in the course of this day,
teach me to accept it with calmness and the conviction that all is subject to Your holy will.
In all my words and actions direct my thoughts and feelings.
In all unexpected occurrences, do not let me forget that all is sent down by You.
Teach me to deal straightforwardly and wisely with every member of my family,
and indeed all people neither embarrassing nor embittering anyone.
O Lord, grant me strength to endure the fatigue of the coming day and all the events that take place during it.
Direct my will and teach me to pray, to believe, to hope, to be patient, to forgive and to love.
Pray in me.
The Lord’s blessing,