God Be With You Till We Meet Again

The beloved hymn “God Be With You till we Meet Again” was penned in 1880 by Jeremiah E. Rankin, pastor of the First Congregational Church in Washington, D.C.. It was set to music in 1882 by composer William G. Tomer, pastor of Grace Meth­od­ist Epis­co­pal Church in Wash­ing­ton, DC.. Mr. Rankin explained;

Jeremiah E. Rankin

“Written…as a Christian good-bye, it was called forth by no per­son or oc­ca­sion, but was de­lib­er­ate­ly com­posed as a Christ­ian hymn on the ba­sis of the ety­mol­o­gy of “good-bye,” which is “God be with you.” – Jeremiah E. Rankin

Many may be surprised to learn that this song actually has 8 original verses, all of them are very beautiful. However, the song is usually shortened during performances. Only three of the verses are actually included in the Latter-day Saint hymnal. “God Be With You” has been adopted as one of the most well-known and oft-sung hymns of the Latter-day Saints. It’s a standard at funerals, or at the closing of any church meeting –  particularly at a General Conference of the church. In fact, President Thomas S. Monson once titled one of his Conference talks after this hymn, and then requested that the Mormon Tabernacle Choir perform the song at the conclusion of his remarks;

“…we have come to the close of another inspiring general conference. I personally have been spiritually fed and uplifted and know that you too have felt the special spirit of this conference. . . Let us be of good cheer as we go about our lives. Although we live in increasingly perilous times, the Lord loves us and is mindful of us. He is always on our side as we do what is right. He will help us in time of need.”- President Thomas S. Monson, God Be With You Till We Meet Again, Oct. 2012

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir has adopted this hymn as one of its signature pieces – performing it regularly for audiences at the close of their weekly Sunday broadcasts of Music and the Spoken Word.

God be with you ’til we meet again (Lyrics Performed)

1. God be with you ’til we meet again;
By his counsels guide, uphold you;
With his sheep securely fold you.
God be with you till we meet again.

(Chorus)

’til we we meet at Jesus’ feet,
Till we meet, till we meet,
God be with you till we meet again.
2. God be with you ’til we meet again;
When life’s perils thick confound you,
Put his arms unfailing round you.
God be with you till we meet again.
3. God be with you ’til we meet again;
Keep love’s banner floating o’er you;
Smite death’s threat’ning wave before you.
God be with you till we meet again.
Text: Jeremiah E. Rankin, 1828-1904
Music: William G. Tomer, 1833-1896

2 thoughts on “God Be With You Till We Meet Again

  1. Have you ever had a song that you love and hate at the same time? This is one that fits that description perfectly for me.

    Up until I served my mission in 1966-68 the song was another of the many that I grew up with in the wards that I lived in with my family. Then, each time I was transferred between areas in my mission, it was sung at the last sacrament meeting that I had in each of those wards. I came to associate it with leaving people that I had grown to love desperately, and likely would never see again. Then, as the capper, when I was released from my mission and returned home from New Zealand to the States, My last night in the mission field was at the mission home where my mission president and the mission home staff and I sang the song just before I got into the car for my run to the airport and home. We were all in tears when we finally finished, and the memory of those beautiful faces and the music has remained with me ever since, and each time the hymn is sung in church, or at conference, or wherever, my mind and heart go right back to those wonderful people in New Zealand. My mission president, who is now in his 80′s has asked that as our last gift to him, we who are left when he passes away are to line the aisles of the chapel of his funeral when he is buried, and sing that song, as our last gift. He is a man who has in many ways for most of us been as another father, and we have all been blessed with an association and love that has extended for almost 50 years now. We do not expect many more years to go by with him among us, and so the song has a very special meaning to all of us who shared that little tradition. Its VERY special, but it makes it very hard to hear the song, for the sweet memories.

    Thank you for the chance to once again treasure those moments
    Rod Johnson
    New Zealand South Mission, 1966-1968

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