325 years ago the famous German Lutheran hymn writer Paul Gerhardt passed away

Paul Gerhardt was born on 12th March 1607 and died on 27th May 1676.

He lived in Germany during the time of the 30 year long war fought on German Territory in the first place. He lost both his parents while he still was going to school. He began to study Lutheran Theology to become a pastor when he was 17 years of age. During his studies he had to work as a private teacher to pay for his studies.He continued working as a teacher until he become a pastor in Mittenwalde near Berlin. He become a father when he was already 48 years of age.

During his life he went through different bereavements.. He lost four of his five children and his wife. His strong faith in the Lord Jesus Christ comforted him a lot. Paul Gerhardt is the most important German Lutheran hymn writer. Many of his hymns have been translated into English and are used in the Lutheran Churches in South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and the USA.

He wrote the following wellknown hymns: the hymns for the time of Advent: "O how shall I receive Thee", the Christmas hymns "Beside Thy manger here I stand", the hymn for Good Friday and other sad occasions: "O sacred head, now wounded", the Easter hymn "Awake, my heart, rejoicing", the hymns for Pentecost "O enter, Lord, Thy temple, Be Thou my spirit's guest".

The hymn "Commit whatever griefs Thee" (Befiehl du deine Wege) and " Why should cross and trial grief me?" are a true reflection of his experiences in his ministry , personal life and instability and war in the country. His hymns have been helping generations of christians to pray and sing and reflect their experiences in life. Even though his hymns are old they are not outdated. They are of great value for all christians not only Lutherans.