O ZION, HASTE
Mary Ann Thomson, 1834–1923
May Your ways be known on earth, Your salvation among all nations. (Psalm 67:2)
The Christian church is God’s appointed means of spreading the gospel around the world. A church that is not a missionary church will quench the Spirit of God and miss His blessing. God’s agenda for history is “that all nations might believe and obey Him” (Romans 16:26). All too often, however, the church has allowed itself to become self-centered, merely maintaining the status quo and failing to respond actively to this biblical directive.
That’s why we need missionary hymns like this one. Its author, Mary Ann Thomson, was born in London, England, but spent most of her life in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where she was active in the Church of the Annunciation. She wrote a number of hymns and poems, this being the only one to survive, however. She wrote “O Zion, Haste” out of a stressful experience in 1868. One night, as she was watching her child who was ill with typhoid fever, the desire to write a missionary hymn pressed upon her. Some have felt that perhaps Mrs. Thomson had made a covenant with God that if he would spare her child, she would consecrate him to His service. The opening line of the final stanza, “give of thy sons to bear the message glorious,” could indicate this. May these words move us from lethargy to evangelism.
O Zion, haste, thy mission high fulfilling, to tell to all the world that God is Light, that He who made all nations is not willing one soul should perish, lost in shades of night.
Behold, how many thousands still are lying, bound in the darksome prison-house of sin, with none to tell them of the Savior’s dying, or of the life He died for them to win.
Proclaim to every people, tongue and nation that God in whom they live and move is love: Tell how He stooped to save His lost creation, and died on earth that man might live above.
Give of thy sons to bear the message glorious; give of thy wealth to speed them on their way; pour out thy soul for them in prayer victorious; and all thou spendest Jesus will repay.
Refrain: Publish glad tidings, tidings of peace; tidings of Jesus, redemption, and release.
Isaiah 52:7; Luke 24:47; Acts 1:8; Romans 10:15; 16:26
Prayerfully consider how your church could have a greater impact on worldwide missions. At the right time, share your thoughts with the pastor and other leaders. Carry the urgency for missions with you with this hymn’s refrain—