We’re marching to Zion, beautiful, beautiful Zion; We’re marching upward to Zion; the beautiful city of God.
The hymn We’re Marching to Zion was written by Isaac Watts in the late 17th, early 18th century, at least the words were. Mr. Watts was a big proponent of hymn singing. The hymn’s words first appeared around 1701 and was titled “Heavenly Joy on Earth.” Many mocked Watts for writing such humanly composed songs rather that just Psalms or Bible verses. They referred to his works as “Watts’ Whims.” In fact, often people back then would walk out of services when a hymn was sung.
So in the song, verse two was his response: Let those refuse to sing, Who never knew our God; But children of the heav’nly King May speak their joys abroad. It wasn’t until the late 19th century that Robert Lowrey put the words to music. Much of the words were inspired by Psalm 137 and 149. It became a favorite of Christmas songs during the revival era of the 19th-20th century.
Personally, the rousing hymn still is. It is a reminder that the believers journey is to another world. To often, we Christians, forget our calling and journey. That is why we sink into discouragement or neglect of the things of God. Things like faithful service or for some, in this Covid mindset, attendance. We are clinging to this world to the neglect of one to come, Zion.
When we view this world as temporary and not so lovely, perhaps we will start singing and marching to Zion. God and this world’s system has a way of making us want to.
Please let us get on the journey and march all of the way to Zion.
Let Israel rejoice in him that made him: let the children of Zion
be joyful in their King.