O Zion, Haste

Representative Text

1 O Christians, haste, your 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 dreary 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 ev'ry 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 they might live above. [Refrain]

4 Send heralds forth to bear the message glorious,
give of your wealth to speed them on their way;
pour out your soul for them in prayer victorious;
O Christians, haste to bring the brighter day! [Refrain]

Source: Christian Worship: Hymnal #901

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 >

Text Information

First Line: O Zion, haste, thy mission high fulfilling
Title: O Zion, Haste
Author: Mary Ann Thomson (1868)
Meter: with refrain
Language: English
Refrain First Line: Publish glad tidings, tidings of peace
Notes: Spanish translation: See "O prisa, Sion, que tu Señor espera" by Alejandro Cativiela
Copyright: Public Domain


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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