Read the history of this song - it's history tells us who we are and how others before us fought to ensure our religious freedom that is the bed rock of America.
Thursday Song Lyric: We Gather Together[
David Kopel, November 27, 2008 at 2:55am
The great Dutch hymn "We Gather Together" celebrates Dutch victory in a battle of the war of independence from Spain. The hymn was adopted by Americans because it resonated so much with their own circumstances. It's a very relevant song this year, too, as the war between freedom and tyranny continues.
YouTube has plenty of other versions too, if you want to hear pure organ music, or a church performance in Spanish.
A wonderful article by Melanie Kirkpatrick in today's Opinion Journal details the history of the Thanksgiving hymn "We Gather Together." Originally written in Dutch for an already-familiar melody
The nation was electrified, transformed in an instant. Who now should henceforth dare to say that one Spanish fighting-man was equal to five or ten Hollanders? At last the days of Jemmingen and Mooker-heath needed no longer to be remembered by every patriot with a shudder of shame. Here at least in the open field a Spanish army, after in vain refusing a combat and endeavouring to escape, had literally bitten the dust before one fourth of its own number. And this effect was a permanent one.
Thenceforth for foreign powers to talk of mediation between the republic and the ancient master, to suggest schemes of reconciliation and of a return to obedience, was to offer gratuitous and trivial insult, and we shall very soon have occasion to mark the simple eloquence with which the thirty-eight Spanish standards of Turnhout, hung up in the old hall of the Hague, were made to reply to the pompous rhetoric of an interfering ambassador.Because the Dutch won the war, they were able to build in the 17th century the first nation in the modern world which practiced religious tolerance.
The religious freedom which we enjoy today in the United States was won for us, in part, by the brave cavalrymen of Prince Maurice's army who risked (and, in some cases, lost) their lives against the larger Spanish force.
Like Passover, Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on the debts of thanks we owe to previous generations which fought (in various ways, including literally) for freedom, and, especially, to God for leading them in their fight. Thanksgiving in 2005 is also an especially appropriate time to reflect on our own contemporary obligations to ensure that the sacred light of religious freedom is never extinguished, as our nation is now engaged in a world-wide war against an enemy determined to destroy that freedom.
"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 in battle,And pray that Thou still our defender wilt be.
Let Thy congregation escape tribulation!
Thy name be ever praised! O Lord, make us free!" /