Thanksgiving During a Plague: Martin Rinkart (1586–1649)
When the Thirty Years’ War (1618–1648) engulfed northern Europe, Christians in Germany suffered under the terrors of war, famine, and plague. As a new pastor in the walled city of Eilenberg, Martin Rinkart knew the spiritual strain of ministry under these trying circumstances. Refugees congregated in Eilenberg, but the siege by the Swedish and Austrian armies led to famine and disease within the city. Homes were destroyed as the armies invaded parts of the city. During 1637, all pastors except Rinkart either died or fled, leaving Rinkart alone to perform funerals. At the height of the devastation, he held burial services for 40 to 50 people a day. Among the 8,000 dead was Rinkart’s own wife. Through Rinkart’s prayers and diplomacy, he negotiated a reduction of a payment demanded by the attacking armies. Rinkart’s courage and faith led to an end of the siege of Eilenberg. Under these circumstances, what [more]
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