Wednesday, November 25, 2009

We Gather Together

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 praise 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, wast at our side: all glory be thine!

We all do extol thee, thou leader triumphant,
and pray that thou still our defender wilt be.
Let thy congregation escape tribulation:
thy Name be ever praised! O Lord, make us free!

We Gather Together is a Christian hymn of Netherlands origin written in 1597 by Adrianus Lalerius to celebrate Dutch victory over Spanish forces in the Battle of Turnhout. In the United States, it is popularly associated with Thanksgiving Day and is often sung at family meals and at religious services on that day.

At the time the hymn was written, the Dutch were engaged in a war of national liberation against the Catholic King Philip II of Spain. "Wilt heden nu treden," "We gather together" resonated because under the Spanish King, Dutch Protestants were forbidden to gather for worship. The hymn first appeared in print in a 1626 collection of Dutch patriotic songs, "Nederlandtsch Gedencklanck."

According to the Hymn Society in the United States and Canada, We Gather Together first appeared in an American hymnal in 1903. The hymn gained popularity, especially in services of Thanksgiving.

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