Martin Rinkert was a minister in the town of Eilenburg Germany some 350 years ago. He was the son of a poor coppersmith, but managed to work his way through an education. Finally in 1617 he was offered the post of Archdeacon in his hometown parish. A year later the 33-year-war broke out, and his town was caught right in the middle. In 1637 the massive plague that swept across Europe broke out in his town, and people died at the rate of 50 a day. Martin had to bury most of them. In all, more than 8,000 people died, including Martin’s wife. His labors finally came to an end about 11 years later, just one year after the conclusion of the war. His ministry spanned 32 years, and all but the first and last were extremely difficult. It was tough, to say the least, for Martin Rinkert to be thankful, and yet in “Breaking Bread”, hymn # 212, we read what he wrote:
Now thank we all our God
With heart and hands and voices.
Who wondrous things hath done
In whom this world rejoices.