Go Now in Peace

Scripture References

Confessions and Statements of Faith References

Further Reflections on Confessions and Statements of Faith References

To leave the security of worship and enter the world for service requires firm confidence in the faithful promises of God to be with us, to care for us and bless us. Our deepest assurance comes from the comfort we have that “I am not my own, but belong—body and soul, in life and in death—to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ” (Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 1, Question and Answer 1). Because I belong to him, “he will provide whatever I need for body and soul, and will turn to my good whatever adversity he sends upon me in this sad world. God is able to do this because he is almighty God and desires to do this because he is a faithful Father” (Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 9, Question and Answer 26). We have the assurance that “our Lord speaks to us now through the inspired Scriptures. Christ is with us day by day” (Our Song of Hope, Stanza 1). How rich it is to carry such assurance of his blessing with us as we leave the service of worship!


Go Now in Peace


The peace of God,
which passes all understanding,
keep your hearts and minds
in the knowledge and love of God,
and of God’s Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord;
and the blessing of God Almighty,
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
remain with you always.
— Lift Up Your Hearts (http://www.liftupyourheartshymnal.org)

Grace and peace to you
from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ,
who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age,
according to the will of our God and Father,
to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
—Galatians 1:2-5, NIV
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

May God himself, the God of peace,
sanctify you through and through.
May your whole spirit, soul and body
be kept blameless
at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
—1 Thessalonians 5:23, NIV
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Additional Prayers

A Petitionary Prayer
Loving God, defender of the defenseless, let us depart in peace since our eyes have seen your great salvation through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
— Cornelius Plantinga, Jr.

Go Now in Peace

Tune Information

C Major

Musical Suggestion

"Go Now in Peace" also makes an appropriate sung blessing at the end of our worship services. We conclude our worship services each week with a blessing from the Lord. (For some reason, most of our churches have still hung on to the old Latin word benediction, which simply means "blessing.") This hymn could be used in place of a spoken blessing, but my preference would be to hear a spoken blessing from the Lord, with everyone responding by singing this song as our parting blessing to each other.
This little parting song of blessing would be appropriate in a number of these settings. Children finish another school year, families leave on vacations, and many young couples get married, leaving their parents' homes to begin new homes.
The most joyful way to sing "Go Now in Peace" is with children playing Orff instruments, perhaps supplemented by other instruments. The first week or two sing it twice in a row in unison. Then try it as a round. To ensure a smooth transition to the singing, a song leader may want to introduce the round with a variation of the following announcement:
We will sing it twice, first all together. and then as a three-part round, dividing the congregation as follows: [with arms extended, delineate three sections based on aisles or sections from left to right, not from front to back] part one, two, and three. Each group should start when the first group gets to your circled number.
Then repeat the extended-arm motions as the congregation sings. If the round is going well, signal to the first group to repeat it one (or two) more times. You may even use this song as a recessional, singing as you leave.
(from Reformed Worship, Issue 27)
— Emily Brink

Go Now in Peace

Hymn Story/Background

Natalie Sleeth wrote this charming round in 1975 when she was employed in the church school of Highland Park United Methodist Church, Dallas, Texas, dedicating it to one of her Orff instrumentalist friends. Sleeth published the text and music of this hymn in 1976 in her Sunday Songbook, compiled for use by church school groups and young choirs. Sleeth's work consists of many anthems that involve two, three, or four-part rounds. The text is a simple blessing or benediction: go in peace under God's loving care.
The beauty of GO NOW IN PEACE lies in its simplicity of melody and in the many possibilities of enhancing a performance with a variety of instruments. The hymn is a wonderful "little anthem" for a children's choir accompanied by elementary school instrumentalists. Use Orff instruments or try handbells for the repeated patterns. Sing altogether once, and on the repeat, sing this hymn as a three-part round; four parts are also possible if the round begins every two bars.
— Bert Polman

Composer Information

A respected author and composer of hymns, anthems, and rounds, Natalie Sleeth (b. Evanston, IL, 1930; d. Denver, CO, 1992) composed almost two hundred works for a variety of publishers from 1969 until her death. Educated at Wellesley College in Massachusetts, in 1952 she married Ronald E. Sleeth, a Methodist minister and homiletics professor; they resided in seminary communities in Nashville, Dallas, Evanston, and Denver. Sleeth published a devotional book, Adventures for the Soul (1987), which describes some of her compositions. She was the subject of the video Words and Music (1990). Some of her anthems were published as hymns in Songs for LiFE (1994).
— Bert Polman

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