(also called "O Christian, Haste")
Mary Ann Thompson, 1834-1923

God be merciful unto us, and bless us; and cause his face to shine upon us; Selah.
That thy way may be known upon earth, thy saving health among all nations.
Let all the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise thee.
Psalm 67:1-3

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 vital biblical directive.

That's why we need missionary hymns like this one. Its author, Mary Ann Thompson, was born in London, England, but she spent most of her life in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 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. Thompson had made a covenant with God that if He would spare her child, she would consecrate him to His service. The opening of the fifth stanza, "give of thy sons to bear the message glorious" could indicate this. May these words move us from lethargy to evangelism.

Many have changed the text and title to "O Christian, Haste"; for although the church began in Israel, Israel as a nation has not as yet accepted the Messiahship of Jesus Christ. Rather than appear as replacement theology instead of the adoption theology in which it was written, it can be sung this way.

O Christian, 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 Saviorís 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 we might live above.

íTis thine to save from peril of perdition
The souls for whom the Lord His life laid down:
Beware lest, slothful to fulfill thy mission,
Thou lose one jewel that should deck His crown.

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;
O Christian, haste to bring the brighter day.

He comes again! O Christian, ere thou meet Him,
Make known to every heart His saving grace:
Let none whom He hath ransomed fail to greet Him,
Through thy neglect, unfit to see His face.

CHORUS: Publish glad tidings, tidings of peace;
Tidings of Jesus, redemption and release!

*For Today*: 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.

Music url: The Cyber Hymnal

Taken from Amazing Grace -- 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions © Copyright 1990 by Kenneth W. Osbeck. Published by Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids, MI. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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