O Zion, haste

Full Text

1 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.

Publish glad tidings, tidings of peace,
tidings of Jesus, redemption, and release.

2 Behold how many thousands still are lying
bound in the dark-some prison-house of sin,
with none to tell them of the Savior's dying,
or of the life He died for them to win. [Refrain]

3 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 we might live above. [Refrain]

4 Give of thine own 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]

Source: Celebrating Grace Hymnal #479

Author: Mary Ann Thomson

Thomson, Mary Ann, wife of Mr. John Thomson, Librarian of the Free Library, Philadelphia, was born in London, England, December 5, 1834. She has written about forty hymns, which have appeared mostly in the Churchman, New York, and in the Living Church, Chicago. Four of her hymns are found in the Protestant Episcopal Hymnal, 1892. Of the origin of the missionary hymn by Mrs. Thomson which is found in our Hymnal she writes as follows: I wrote the greater part of the hymn, "O Zion, haste," in the year 1868. I had written many hymns before, and one night, while I was sitting up with one of my children who was ill of typhoid fever, I thought I should like to write a missionary hymn to the tune of the hymn beginning "Hark, hark, my soul, angelic… Go to person page >


Scripture References:
st. 1 = 2 Pet. 3:9

About her writing of this text, Mary A. Thomson (b. London, England, 1834; d. Philadelphia, PA, 1923) stated:

I wrote the greater part of the hymn "O Sion, haste" in the year 1868. I had written many hymns before, and one night, while I was sitting up with one of my children, who was ill with typhoid fever, I thought I should like to write a missionary hymn to the tune of "Hark, hark my soul! angelic songs are swelling," as I was fond of that tune; but as I could not then get a refrain I liked, I left the hymn unfinished and about three years later finished it by writing the refrain which now forms a part of it. I do not think my hymn, "O Sion, haste," is ever sung to the tune for which I wrote it. Mr. Anketell told me, and I am sure he was right, that it is better for a hymn to have a tune of its own and I feel much indebted to the author of the tune TIDINGS for writing so inspiring a tune to my words.
-William B. Bodine, Some Hymns and Hymn Writers, p. 224

Thomson's text was published with the tune TIDINGS in Charles Hutchins's Episcopal Church Hymnal (1892). Of the original six stanzas, 1, 4, and 5 are included.

The text boldly urges the church to its missionary task to "every people, tongue, and nation." The third stanza clearly indicates what the missions commitment involves: we must send missionaries from among us and support them with our wealth and prayers. The heart of the Christian gospel is announced in the refrain.

Born in England, Thomson moved to the United States as a girl and married John Thomson, the first librarian of the famous Free Library in Philadelphia. The Thomsons were members of the Episcopal Church of the Annunciation in Philadelphia, where John served as treasurer. Mary wrote poetry and some forty hymns, which appeared in religious magazines such as New York's The Churchman and Chicago's The Living Church.

Liturgical Use:
Regular Sunday worship; Epiphany and Pentecost seasons; All Nations Sunday; mission festivals; ordination/ commissioning of missionaries to home or foreign fields.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook, 1987



James Walch (b. Edgerton, Lancashire, England, 1837; d. Llandudno, Caernarvon, Wales, 1901) composed TIDINGS in 1875 for Frederick W. Faber's hymn text "Hark, Hark, My Soul! Angelic Songs Are Swelling"; the tune was first published in The Hymnal Companion to the Book of Common Prayer (1877). TIDINGS…

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The Celebration Hymnal: songs and hymns for worship #443Text
The Covenant Hymnal: a worshipbook #679
The Cyber Hymnal #5549TextScoreAudio
The Hymnal for Worship and Celebration #298TextPage Scan
The New National Baptist Hymnal #408
The United Methodist Hymnal #573TextScoreFlexScoreAudioPage Scan
The United Methodist Hymnal Music Supplement II #174
The United Methodist Hymnal Music Supplement II #175
The Worshiping Church #731TextPage Scan
Trinity Hymnal (Rev. ed.) #444TextPage Scan
Worship and Rejoice #565TextScoreAudioPage Scan
Include 377 pre-1979 instances