Gospel Song – I Bid You Good Night

Gospel Song – I Bid You Good Night

Gospel Song – I Bid You Good Night.

This old gospel song has a history that is difficult to unravel. Most of the people who  are in the know credit the lyrics to poet Sarah Doudney in 1871, and the tune to Ira Sankey in 1884. The song was also in a gospel hymnal in 1928, where the song was credited to F.A. and J.E. Sankey. This “traditional” has traveled the world around, and helped untold millions of mourners to express love and sorrow for their dearly departed.

I Bid You Good Night is a funeral hymn, a farewell to a loved one. It was often sung by the group of mourners as the coffin was lowered into the ground. The poignant lyrics pointed directly to the Christian hope after death, that there will indeed be a great awakening on Resurrection morning. “When our dying bodies have been transformed into bodies that will never die, this Scripture will be fulfilled… ‘Death has been swallowed in victory. Where, O Death, is your victory? Where, O Death, is your sting?” (1 Corinthians 15:54-44).

LYRICS – I Bid You Good Night

Lay down, my brother, lay down and take your rest. Won’t you lay your head now, upon your Savior’s breast.

I love you, O but Jesus loves you best, O I bid you Good Night, Good Night, Good Night.” 

This meditative, sorrowful song has consistently been chosen as the encore number for numerous concert musicians, from the Soweto Gospel Choir to the Grateful Dead to Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin. These musicians may be singing Good Night to the concert goers at the close of concert, but the intent of the song is to be used as a final farewell for loved ones, until we all wake up on our Easter morning. “Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” (Ephesians 5:14).