HymnSite.com's Suggested Hymns

Sundays after Pentecost

Proper 27(32)

Unifying Theme:
Choosing a whole life in Christ;
from childhood, throughout life, to the grave, and to the skies

Scripture Theme Hymns
Joshua 24:1-3a, 14-25 --or--
Amos 5:18-24 --or--
Wisdom of Solomon 6:12-16 --or--
Wisdom of Solomon 6:17-20
Choose to serve the Lord
Fear the Lord
399: Take My Life, and Let It Be
467: Trust and Obey
626: Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence
Psalm 78:1-7
Psalm 70
Teaching to the children
Calling upon the Lord
191: Jesus Loves Me
277: Tell Me the Stories of Jesus
463: Lord, Speak to Me
Matthew 25:1-13 Prepare early 339: Come, Sinners, to the Gospel Feast
501: O Thou Who Camest from Above
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 Ressurection of those who die in Christ 539: O Spirit of the Living God
733: We're Marching to Zion

Featured Hymn
We're Marching to Zion

Hymn #733
Text: Isaac Watts; refrain by Robert Lowry
Music: Robert Lowry

Some themes span centuries to touch one generation after another. The glory of Zion is one of them. The scriptures first mention Zion in the book of Second Samuel, when King David conquered the fortress of Zion, the City of David. Zion has been the symbol of God's reign ever since. Thousands of years later in the 18th century--a time when the nation of Israel did not even exist on the map--the image and hope of Zion continued to inspire people, including Isaac Watts, one of the great hymn writers of the church. Because he wrote many of his hymns based on the Psalms, it was inevitable that Watts would write songs of Zion. After all, Zion is mentioned more than three dozen times by the Psalmist. The words of this week's featured hymn, We're Marching to Zion, celebrate the wonders of Zion here on earth before we ever reach the streets of gold. Watts' words were as bold and glorious in his time as they are today, and the hymn remains among the most popular of his works.

Something that is surprising is that the title and musical setting did not appear until 160 years later. The hymn was originally written in short meter, and would have been sung to a tune such as ST. MICHAEL, which is used in The United Methodist Hymnal for How Can We Sinners Know, O Come and Dwell in Me, Stand Up and Bless the Lord, and O Day of God Draw Nigh. In 1867, though, more than 150 years after Watts penned his hymn, Robert Lowry was inspired by the themes of Zion. Lowry seized upon Watts' work, doubled the last two lines of each stanza, added a refrain, and composed the tune MARCHING TO ZION. The first line of Lowry's new refrain became the popular title of Watts' hymn.

The timeless themes of Zion have inspired God's people with a message of hope. They were sung in Israel in the days of the Psalmist, in England during the 1700s, in America after the Civil War, and still everywhere we may be today. Let your soul shout God's hope for the world as you read these words.

1. Come, we that love the Lord,
and let our joys be known;
join in a song with sweet accord,
join in a song with sweet accord
and thus surround the throne,
and thus surround the throne.
2. Let those refuse to sing
who never knew our God;
but children of the heavenly King,
but children of the heavenly King
may speak their joys abroad,
may speak their joys abroad.
3. The hill of Zion yields
a thousand sacred sweets
before we reach the heavenly fields,
before we reach the heavenly fields,
or walk the golden streets,
or walk the golden streets.
4. Then let our songs abound,
and every tear be dry;
we're marching through Emmanuel's ground,
we're marching through Emmanuel's ground,
to fairer worlds on high,
to fairer worlds on high.
We're marching to Zion,
beautiful, beautiful Zion;
we're marching upward to Zion,
the beautiful city of God.

Join in the timeless theme. March upward to Zion. Seek God and share the hope of the Lord with everyone you meet.

God bless you--
Lection at HymnSite.com

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Passages suggested are from The Revised Common Lectionary: Consultation on Common Texts (Abingdon Press, 1992) copyright © by the Consultation on Common Texts (CCT), P.O. Box 340003, Room 381, Nashville TN 37203-0003. Reprinted with permission of CCT.