#SundaySounds: God Be With You
I tried to choose a hymn that would be fitting for Memorial Day.
Memorial Day is a federal holiday in the United States for honoring and mourning the military personnel that died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. The holiday is now observed on the last Monday of May, having been observed on May 30 from 1868 to 1970.
Many of the popular songs we know and love have a special story behind them. That being said, “God Be With You Till We Meet Again”, which was written by Jeremiah Rankin, was simply composed so his church choir could have something to sing when they parted each week. Rankin was the minister for the First Congregational Church in Washington, D.C. and said this about the hymn, “Written…as a Christian goodbye, it was called forth by no person or occasion, but was deliberately composed as a Christian hymn on basis of the etymology of “goodbye,” which is “God be with you.” He got the idea for the first stanza of the song when he saw the dictionary definition of "good-bye" was short for "God be with you." The song was written in 1882 when Rankin was 54 years old.
While Rankin was responsible for writing the lyrics, William Tomer, who was the music director at Grace Methodist Episcopal Church, composed the music.
The hymn became the official closing song for the Christian Endeavor Convention. Dr. Rankin said: “It has had no sweeter recognition than that given it by its adoption by the Young People’s Society of Christian Endeavor. Long, long, may they sing it!”
During the war, many postcards were printed with hymn lyrics to help soldiers in battle feel at ease. One such postcard was a colorful picture of soldiers going to battle with the following verse: “God be with you till we meet again; keep love's banner floating o'er you, smite death's threatening wave before you; God be with you till we meet again.”
I am always open to suggestions for songs to be used, as well as other suggestions you might have for the blog. If you would rather not share that info in the comments, you may email your suggestions.