We're Marching to Zion

words: Isaac Watts
chorus: Robert Lowry
music: Robert Lowry
Background music: Joyful Noise Music

"Should we sing psalms or hymns in our church services? This was the controversy stirring many congregations during the 17th and 18th Centuries. Isaac Watts was the life-long champion of the 'humanly composed' hymn while the majority of the English-speaking churhes insisted on the traditional psalm settings. Tempers frequently flared, and some churches actually split in the heat of this decidedly unharmonious musical conflict. In some churches a compromise was reached. The psalm setting would be sung in the early part of the service with a hymn used at the close; during which time the parishioners could leave or simply refuse to sing.

Isaac Watts' 'Come, We That Love the LORD' was no doubt written in part to refute his critics, who termed his hymns "Watts' Whims", as well as to provide some subtle barbs for those who refused to sing his hymns: 'Let those refuse to sing who never knew our God; but children of the heavenly Kings may speak their joys abroad.' The hymn first appeared in Watt's Hymns and Spiritual Songs of 1707 and was titled 'Heavenly Joy on Earth'.

May we remember the importance of 'psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the LORD' (Ephesians 5:19) implies harmony--spiritual harmony as well as spiritual words and music."

Taken from Amazing Grace: 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions © 2002 by Kenneth W. Osbeck. Published by Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids, MI.
Used by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.