Today’s song in honor of Thanksgiving is a musical prayer from the Netherlands, written in the early 1600s during the Dutch national liberation against the Catholic King Philip II of Spain. The song “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.” It made its American hymnal debut in 1903.
Random Hymn Trivia: “Prayer of Thanksgiving” was sung at the Funeral Mass of former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.
I absolutely adore singing the glorious arrangement by Nathan Hofheins written for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Mr. Hofheins chose to add a beautiful fourth verse to the hymn which rounds out the theme of raising voices in praise, reminding us to not only praise using the spoken word, but also with our words of song: “and gladly our song of true worship we bring”.
In the words of the Psalmist [ and theme scripture of this blog] “Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise.” (98:4)
What will your “Joyful Noise unto the Lord” be this Thanksgiving?” – MoSop
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, 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!
- With voices united, our praises we offer
And gladly our song of true worship we raise
Thy strong arm will guide us,
Our God is beside us,
To Thee O Lord, Redeemer
Forever we Praise!
Forever, Forever, and Forever we Praise!
Text: Anon., The Netherlands, ca. 1626; trans. by Theodore Baker, 1851-1934
Composer: Edward Kremser, based on a Dutch melody
Lyrics: Translated by Theodore Baker; additional lyrics by JBC Cory
Arrangement: Nathan Hofheins