'We Gather Together'
As with “Now Thank We All Our God,” the hymn “We Gather Together” owes its existence to European warfare, this time centered on Dutch Protestants successfully overthrowing Catholic Spanish rule.
“We Gather Together” was first published in 1626 as part of a collection of patriotic songs written to celebrate the Dutch Protestant victory at the 1597 Battle of Turnhout.
As Dutch settlers immigrated to North America, they brought the song over, with it entering an English-language American hymnal in 1903 and becoming popular during the 20th century.
“It is one of the most memorable of Thanksgiving hymns and fits with the American religious culture, for it ends with the fitting and uplifting conclusion, ‘O, Lord, make us free!’” wrote Pastor Jim Eckman in 2018.
“The freedom of which the hymn speaks can mean political freedom, with all the rights and liberties that go with that freedom. But it also can mean spiritual freedom; the freedom from bondage to sin and the freedom to now serve the risen Lord.”