Text/Music: Martin Rinkart
Scripture reference: Deuteronomy 10:21; 1 Chronicles 16:7-36; 29:10-14; Psalm 9:1-14; 26:7; 34:3; 35:28; 59:16; 72:18-19; 75:1; 100; 2 Corinthians 2:14; 9:8-11; Ephesians 5:18-20; Colossians 1:12; 3:14-17; Hebrews 13:15; James 1:17
Liturgical Uses/Seasons: Anniversary, Thanksgiving
This three-stanzas hymn is found in number 472 of the Yoruba Baptist Hymnal in Nigeria. The hymn of gratitude is the Yoruba translation of the ancient hymn, “Now Thank We All Our God” written in the midst of one of the devastating wars, the Thirty Years’ War (1618-48) by Martin Rinkart. Martin Rinkart was pastor at Eilenburg, Saxonomy, Germany, and was for a time the only pastor in the city. In the year 1637 alone, he was responsible for nearly 4500 burials including some members of his family.
However, unlike the context in which the hymn was composed, I grew up as a little girl seeing our parents singing this song during joyful celebrations like naming ceremonies, housewarming and weddings. The song became more popular through consistent use during naming ceremonies. Often, in the Yoruba churches in South-West Nigeria, the song has been contextualized to the normal danceable African rhythmic form not minding the four-part arrangements in the English version, and is often sung with accompaniments like the keyboard, guitar, local percussion and so on.
1. Afope F’Olorun, lokan ati lohun wa,
Eni sohun ‘yanu, n’nu enit’araiye nyo
Gbat’a wa l’omowo, On na l’o ntoju wa
O si nf’ebun ife, se ‘toju wa sibe.
2. Oba Onibuore, Ma fi wa sile lailai,
Ayo ti ko lopin, on ‘bukun y’o je ti wa
Pawa mo n’nu ore, to wa gb’aba damu,
Yo wa ninu ibi, l’aiye ati l’orun.
3. K’a f’iyin ohun ope F,olorun Baba, Omo
Ati Emi Mimo; ti o ga julo l’orun,
Olorun kan lailai, taiye at’orun mbo
Be l’O wa d’isiyi; beni y’o wa lailai.
Contributed by Victoria Adeyinka.