God be with you till we meet again

God be with you till we meet again. Jeremiah Eames Rankin* (1828-1904). Written in 1880 as a four-stanza exercise on ‘Goodbye’ (‘God be with ye’), and published in Gospel Bells (Chicago, 1880), edited by Rankin, J.W. Bischoff (1850-1909) and Otis F. Presbrey (1820-1900). This was during Rankin’s pastorate at First Congregational Church, Washington, DC, and the hymn was first sung there. Rankin gave the words to two musicians, and chose the one by William Gould Tomer (1832-1896) now called GOD BE WITH YOU. This tune contrasts the prayer-like simplicity of the verses, represented by repeated chords, with the leaping melody of the refrain, ‘Till we meet, till we meet,/ Till we meet at Jesus’...

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