Hymn #68: God Is Truly with Us

Gerhard Tersteegen (1697-1769), a German mystic, published this hymn in 1729.  He translated the words of Labadie from French to German and paraphrased some of the Frenchman’s thoughts for the text.  The English translation is a composite from many sources.

Gerhard Tersteegen gave up a career as a silk weaver to devote his life to his religious calling.  Each year, he traveled to Holland to hold preaching services and help the unfortunate. Tersteegen held large prayer meetings in his home and encouraged the practice of congregational singing.

Joachim Neander (1650-1680) composed WUNDERBARER KÖNIG as the setting for a text he had written, and both were published in 1680.  The tune is sometimes called ARNSBERG.  The melody has undergone many changes from its original form and would hardly be recognized by Neander.

Joachim Neander enjoyed the carefree life of a student while a youth in Bremen, Germany.  He was greatly moved by the preaching of Theodore Undereyck and became a follower of the pietist movement.  Neander was an independent thinker and made his living primarily as a teacher in a grammar school.