“Praise God from Whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost.”
But most of us have never heard the story behind this hymn many of us sing every Sunday in our churches. A great plague hit England in 1665, and many people died. One year later, in 1666, a major fire destroyed four-fifths of London. Samuel Pepys, a member of Parliament, wrote in his diary: “All around me is death and despair. I don’t think we can recover from this double tragedy.”
One clergyman in the Church of England during this time was a man named Thomas Ken, who later would become Bishop. Thomas Ken believed that the people could definitely survive the double tragedy of the plague and the fire, and worked hard helping the people keep their faith and hope strong.
In the years which followed, some of the darkest in all the history of England, he wrote the hymn which is now so famous around the world.
Sobering, isn’t it? To think that a hymn which we still sing nearly 350 years later as an expression of gladness and gratitude toward God, was composed during a time when many people had died, and many of the survivors were recovering from losing their loved ones, homes and businesses.
In the midst of our darkest times, can we sing with faith and gratitude these words of hope and thanksgiving?
--Rocky Henriques, www.uticabc.com