We Gather Together

GodTube Staff

We Gather Together
"We Gather Together" was originally a Dutch patriotic song, but is now sung as a Thanksgiving hymn around the world. Its lyrics celebrate the fellowship of gathering together in praising the Lord and asking for His blessings. This Christian hymn rejoices in the deliverance from evil and suffering in God's grace, giving thanks to God Almighty! Read the lyrics and background story of this hymn below and find video performances to listen to this holiday season.

1 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.

2 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!

3 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!

Songwriters Theodore Baker (Translator) Published by Public Domain

The Story Behind We Gather Together

This hymn was originally a Dutch patriotic song, written around 1600 to celebrate the freedom of the Netherlands from Spanish rule. However, God’s kingdom transcends national and ethnic boundaries. When the Church sings this hymn, she is reminded of the words of the apostle Paul: “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12, ESV). The day will come when God will overthrow the devil and all evil. Even now, we can say, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1). In singing this hymn, the people of God seek His help and thank Him for His presence in the pursuit of victory over evil, for we know that God “forgets not His own.”

The original Dutch text of this hymn, “Wilt heden nu treden,” was first published in 1626 by Adrian Valerius in his Nederlandtsch Gedenckclanck. However, it may have been written earlier, in the late 16th century. The author is unknown. These lyrics were written in celebration of the freedom of the Netherlands from Spanish rule. Theodore Baker, an American music scholar, translated the text into English in 1894 for an anthem titled “Prayer of Thanksgiving.”

When this hymn was first published in America, the idea of the United States’ Manifest Destiny to overtake the American continent in God’s name was still popular. It may take some care to put this text in an appropriate context for worship. However, several phrases may bring specific Scripture passages to mind (e.g., “the wicked oppressing,” Ps. 55:3; see also Scripture references below). When the hymn is put in this context, the message is clearly about the Church seeking God’s help and thanking Him for His presence in the pursuit of victory over evil.

Source: Hymnary.org

Photo credit: Getty/SeventyFour


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Beautiful Thanksgiving Hymn! "We Gather Together"
Gospel Harmonica Hymn "We Gather Together" with lyrics.

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