525. O Christians, Haste

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 life should perish, lost in shades of night.

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

2 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 in love. Refrain

3 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,
till God shall bring his kingdom's joyful Day. Refrain

Text Information
First Line: O Christians, haste, your mission high fulfilling
Title: O Christians, Haste
Author: Mary Ann Thomson (1868, alt.)
Refrain First Line: Publish glad tidings
Meter: 11 10 11 10 with refrain
Language: English
Publication Date: 1987
Scripture: ; ;
Topic: Deliverance; Preaching; Church and Mission (6 more...)
Tune Information
Composer: James Walch (1875)
Meter: 11 10 11 10 with refrain
Key: B♭ Major

Text Information:

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

Tune Information:

For information about this tune see PHH 297.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

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